It has been a test of endurance, too, as the 13th-ranked school has made trips up and down the East Coast looking for quality competition over the past two months.
But Saturday night’s 56-54 upset win over then-No. 1 Riverdale Baptist was the type of moment that makes the grind worth it for Gilmore, who had 22 points and six rebounds against her former school.
“We realize that if we play together, we can beat a team that is nationally ranked,” Gilmore said. “It’s just exciting.”
Several hours after the win over the Warriors, Gilmore and her teammates had to rise out of bed and hit the road for New York, to meet Lawrenceville (N.Y.) in a Sunday afternoon matinee that put the team’s conditioning to the test. Lawrenceville scored 28 points in the fourth quarter in a 76-67 win, despite Gilmore’s 16 points and Breonn Hughey’s 18 for Capitol Christian (13-6).
The two guards have complemented each other well this season, Gilmore said, because they understand each other through years of competition while Gilmore was at Riverdale and Hughey was at DCIAA power H.D. Woodson.
“We all know how each other play,” Gilmore said. “We all get everybody open shots.”
Hughey is one of eight transfers from the D.C. public school in Northeast, and she is having one of the best seasons of her high school career this winter. The 5-foot-6 guard is averaging 15.1 points per game and has hit 23 three-pointers. That has coincided with the emergence of fellow Woodson transfer Adel Allen. The 5-foot-4 senior guard had the go-ahead bucket against Riverdale with about 30 seconds remaining and is averaging 10.1 points per game.
Gilmore, an Old Dominion signee, has scored 21 points or more in three of her last seven games and is averaging 5.2 rebounds in each of her last five games. Capitol Christian has won three of its last five games since losing by 31 points to Riverdale Baptist on Dec. 30 in the Title IX Classic tournament, which was an important wakeup call, she said.
“We weren’t ready to play. We kind of underestimated them,” Gilmore said. “It’s a very big win for us. Last time we played them, they blew us out, so beating them felt great.”