In our final girls’ basketball notebook of the season, we cover Maryland 4A champion Eleanor Roosevelt, Virginia Class 5 finalist Edison and Maryland 2A champion Poolesville.
Three charges helped Eleanor Roosevelt win a physical final: Thinking back on his team’s Maryland 4A championship win over Catonsville, Eleanor Roosevelt Coach Delton Fuller remembers the physicality.
“There were a couple of plays where you didn’t know whether it was a rugby match or a basketball game,” Fuller joked.
The two teams shot a combined 46 free throws, with Catonsville making 82 percent of theirs. Those free points from the charity stripe helped the Comets lead for much of the first half and hang around when the Raiders tried to pull away late.
“When … have you seen a high school team shoot 82 percent, boys or girls?” Fuller said. “Hat’s off to them.”
The fouls were unavoidable. Most of Roosevelt’s 60-56 win was played at the kind of breakneck, highflying pace that often produces a lot of whistles. But the ones that Fuller enjoyed the most were the three charges taken by his team. Speaking a day after his program hoisted the trophy, those charges are the first thing he brings up.
“It just shows that these players were going to do whatever they had to do to win. They didn’t even think about it,” he said.
Senior forward Nia Scott took two of them, living up to her season-long reputation as one of the best charge-takers in the area. Fuller estimates that she took two to three charges a game this season.
While Scott’s charges pleased Fuller, the one taken by point guard Ashia McCalla shocked him. McCalla, a scoring point guard, finished with 29 points in the Raiders win but also took a key charge in the second half. Fuller believes that it’s the first one she’s taken in her four years with the program.
“She’s a finesse player,” Fuller said. “So when she took that charge, I knew. I thought ‘okay, we’re going to win this game.’”
Edison takes unconventional path to state finals: The Edison Eagles don’t travel. Not for the state quarterfinals, anyway. Winners of five straight region championships entering the season, the Eagles were used to starting the Virginia state tournament on their home court.
Yet there they were March 2., packed onto a charter bus bound for Roanoke. Wind storms ravaged the D.C. area that day, forcing the federal government and local schools to close. But Edison had a game to play, a statement that needed to be made.
It was a blowout. Playing in front of a hostile crowd, Carole Miller poured in 26 points to lead Edison to an 83-65 victory over William Fleming. Guards Bri Johns (sophomore) and Amaya Gray (senior) each had double-doubles in the victory.
Edison then beat Freedom-South Riding in the semifinals, before ultimately coming up short against Princess Anne in the Class 5 state championship. The team remains without a state title, but Coach Dianne Lewis said her players have nothing to be ashamed of.
“My girls never quit. They never played according to the scoreboard. It was indicative of the entire season,” Lewis said of the state finals loss.
It became clear this season would be different from recent years when Edison fell to Freedom-South Riding, 56-46, in the Class 5C region title game. Afterward Lewis and Freedom-South Riding Coach Joe Crawford acknowledged they’d probably see each other again, and 11 days later they did.
The state semifinal matchup was played at John Champe High, which is less than four miles from Freedom-South Riding. It was virtually a road game for the Eagles, but they executed their game plan masterfully en route to a 49-32 win.
Edison is a guard-heavy team without a true post player, of which Princess Anne has several. The Eagles were overmatched.
“We could’ve given up,” Lewis said. “and we didn’t.”
Swick’s style leads Poolesville to a title: Fred Swick’s 18th season as head coach of the Poolesville girls’ basketball season ended with his 370th win. When the Falcons beat Queen Anne’s 63-23 on Saturday to capture the Maryland 2A title and complete a perfect 27-0 season, they did it with Swick’s signature style: smart, simple basketball executed perfectly.
On the court, Swick’s offense took a direct route to the basket, often dumping it in to a player at the high post who would shoot a short jumper or look for a cutter on the block. Wide-open threes were the only shots ever taken from the outside and layups were the ultimate goal on every possession.
Off the court, Swick took a direct route with teaching his players how to take over Montgomery County this season. His halftime talks were noticeably short, with the Falcons re-emerging from the locker room after only two or three minutes instead of the traditional seven to 10 that most teams take.
“I go straight to the point and we’re done,” Swick said. “My coaching philosophy is to avoid information overload.”
While that may work for the longtime coach, Poolesville’s opponents this season had to go deeper to try to be the one team that toppled the Falcons. While opposing coaches often paced the sidelines, screaming directions or distaste at their players, Swick often sat calmly in his chair, watching as his team ran past another opponent with a strong press and a cohesive offense.
“Teams do these ridiculous things on the blackboard where it takes you 20 minutes to read it all,” Swick said. “We’re just trying to focus on the basics.”