TOWSON – Whitman guard Abby Meyers shouted encouragements at her teammates from the bench as precious seconds ticked away in the 4A West state championship game against Catonsville in the SECU Arena at Towson University.
Meyers had uncharacteristically fouled out of the game with under two minutes to go and was forced to watch from the sidelines as the Vikings tried to rally from a four-point deficit and claim their second state title in a row.
It wasn’t meant to be, however. Whitman senior guard Olivia Meyers’ last-second three-point attempt bounced off the backboard and Catonsville held on to win, 49-46.
The victory gave the Comets their first girls basketball state championship in 30 years and the first state championship in any sport in 21 years.
Foul trouble plagued both teams as several players finished the game with at least three fouls.
Comets junior guard Jasmine Dickey registered a game-high 30 points, including 11 at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter alone.
Abby Meyers finished her last game in a Vikings jersey with 26 points and 12 rebounds.
“It’s definitely tough to foul out in your last game, and it’s going to hurt me for a while,” she said. “I just tried to play through it and the refs call what they have to call.”
The two teams appeared evenly matched as neither squad was able to mount a substantial lead.
Dickey matched Meyers’ passionate playing style as both players went to the ground trying to grab the ball in the second quarter.
The Vikings owned a three-point lead heading into the half. However, the tide shifted dramatically in Catonsville’s favor as the Comets put up 10 unanswered points. The Vikings couldn’t seem to get any buckets besides free throws in the first five minutes of the third quarter.
“They’re a great defensive team and they turned up the pressure on us,” said Vikings head coach Peter Kenah. “They just have a lot of talent and that starting five, that’s like a college team.”
The Comets made sure that the Vikings wouldn’t be able to find an open shot as they swarmed Meyers and sophomore guard Elyse Lowet.
Meyers burst free and hit a trey and a jumper back to back to erase Catonsville’s largest lead of the afternoon.
The Comets’ defense, however, made sure that the Vikings didn’t make many big plays in the fourth quarter. Catonsville senior forward and UMBC commit Jen Gast hovered under the basket en route to 13 total rebounds, 12 of them defensive.
Dickey found herself at the foul line again and again as both Meyers and senior guard Isabel Manzano fouled out of the game.
The junior sunk free throw after free throw as the Comets student section cheered.
The game came right down to the wire but the Vikings couldn’t finish. The Catonsville bench poured onto the court as the Comets celebrated their championship title.
“We’re at the summit,” said Catonsville head coach Mike Mohler. “We’re going to enjoy it.”
Kenah said he was proud of how his team didn’t give up even as two of his starters fouled out.
“They were a true team and the bottom didn’t fall out when Abby fouled out,” he said. “It’s just indicative of what a really good team it is.”
Gast was all smiles after the game.
“I finished my last game with a state championship. It’s exciting and I looked forward to this all four years. We had a really good ride,” she said.
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