The Severna Park girls basketball team relied on defense and a big third-quarter run to outpace visiting Broadneck for a 39-21 win on December 13.
Kaila Stasulli led Severna Park with 9 points and 4 assists and Lena McLaughlin had 10 rebounds and 5 steals for the Falcons, who deployed customary defensive intensity to pull away from Broadneck.
“I thought we were pretty flat to start the game, but we made some adjustments, the girls made them, we had a good talk at halftime, and they came out playing how we should have come out to start,” said Severna Park coach Kris Dean, who is eager for improvement before the calendar turns to 2020. “It’s early. We’re still working. We’re a little bit behind where we usually are. The focus is just to get better, that’s always the focus.”
Effort on the defensive end set the tone early for the Falcons. With the bench chanting, “Defense! Defense!” Jess Albert blocked the Bruins’ first shot attempt of the game, and the Falcons jumped out to an 8-0 lead on buckets by Albert, McLaughlin and Theresa Bragg.
“The defense cheer always gets us riled up and gets us to play as best as we can,” said Albert. “Coach Dean always tells us to play a white-line, help defense, so we’re always making sure we’re helping, have that second help so everyone can be covered and we can get all the blocks.”
Broadneck made a little bit of a run in the second quarter to close to within 20-10 by halftime. Severna Park did not attempt a 3-pointer in the first half, but they came out gunning in the second, getting stops on the defensive end and letting it fly from deep. Stasulli hit 3’s on back-to-back possessions, and freshman Hannah Verreault hit another as Severna Park went on a 15-3 run to take a 35-13 lead.
“We’ve been working on outside shooting, and I think that over time we’re definitely going to have a lot of shooters and be a threat on the outside,” said Stasulli, who added the good crowd and rivalry atmosphere was a fun environment in which to get a win. “It’s always a good feeling to come out and play well in front of a lot of fans.”
Isabel Garren had 10 points, including three 3-pointers, to lead the Bruins (1-2), who got 4 points each from Skylar Flewellyn and Devon McCue. Broadneck coach Juan McKinney was confident his young Bruins team will make strides as the season progresses.
“We just have to be more consistent on offense,” McKinney said. “Defensively we played pretty well in the first half, we just didn’t make any shots. The second half we gave up open shots in the third quarter, they went on a run and that pushed it up a little bit. But we’re young, and our defense is going to have to carry us until our offense catches up.”
For Severna Park, another winter brings another deep roster of athletes. Every Falcon provided valuable minutes against the Bruins, and stats were diffused throughout the lineup. Hailey Betch had 7 rebounds and 5 points. Bragg had 6 points and 5 rebounds. Cat Cleary came off the bench to contribute 5 points and 5 rebounds. Ella Ryan had 5 rebounds from the point guard spot in 16 minutes off the bench. Sydney Nwuli pulled down 2 rebounds and played tough defense in eight minutes. Starting guard Cam Chew played strong perimeter defense and had 2 points and 2 rebounds. Reserves Jillian Murphy, Micayla Sloat, Emersyn Kelter and Peyton Sullivan all came on for minutes.
The Falcons dropped their opening contest to South River on December 6 but came back to win over Broadneck, and they notched another victory with a 38-22 win over St. Mary’s on December 16 behind a team-high 11 points from McLaughlin.
Dean is encouraged by the group he has this season.
“Peaking at the right time, that’s what we’re working towards,” Dean said. “Great group, I love these girls, really the last three years we’ve had a great group. And they’re working hard, and they’re going to work harder, and we’re going to get better.”
Though it’s only December, Albert said the team has goals to improve on last year’s postseason finish, when they lost early in the playoffs.
“We definitely want to have a winning record and make it farther than we did last year in the playoffs, and we definitely have the potential to do it,” Albert said.