BURTONSVILLE — The defending state champion Catonsville Comets varsity girls basketball team strode into the Panthers Den Saturday and emerged as the 4A North Regional champions after throttling the Paint Branch Panthers, 78-42.
The staunch Comet defense proved to be too much for the Panthers to handle. Catonsville neutralized Paint Branch center Amele Ngwafang, throwing the senior off of her game and forcing her into foul trouble. Even though the Radford University commit still led her team with 14 points, most of those points were earned at the free throw line.
Meanwhile, Catonsville senior guard and University of Delaware commit Jasmine Dickey ran roughshod over the Panthers, creating turnovers and landing easy layups nearly every time she dashed down the court. Dickey led all scorers with 26 points and in the process, entered the Maryland state history books as she registered her 2000th high school career point.
“I really didn’t know,” said Dickey of her achievement. “It feels great because I know not a lot of people get it.”
The Panthers fell behind in the first quarter and couldn’t recover. Catonsville beat Paint Branch on the offensive boards and the defense made sure the Panthers couldn’t penetrate into the paint.
The Comets opened the second quarter with a 10-0 run and a rinse-and-repeat strategy. Senior guard and Norfolk State commit Jameila Barrett (19 points) waited under the basket for a pass before finishing off the play with another two points.
Even though the game spiraled out of control for the Panthers early on, point guard Patricia Anumgba didn’t give up. The sophomore managed to drive through the Catonsville defense as she scratched and clawed her way to 13 points.
The season may have ended unceremoniously for the Panthers; however, sophomore guard Jabria Bruce found a silver lining at the end of her team’s loss.
“It didn’t turn out how we wanted it to, but we really came a long way,” she said. “We really progressed and nobody expected us to come this far, so we’re taking this as a learning experience.”
The Comets have a date Thursday with the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Barons at Towson University to determine who will progress to the state championship on Saturday.
Dickey said she wanted to leave her coaches one last parting gift before she takes her game to Delaware.
“I want to give Coach Mike [Mohler] one final prize as far as me and the rest of the seniors. I want to give him all three, a county, regional and a state championship,” said Dickey.