- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Smith ignites fourth-quarter run, Calvert girls roll past Westlake
By AJ MASON
As visiting Westlake cut a 19-point halftime deficit to just nine early in the fourth quarter, the Calvert girls basketball team got a much needed spark on Wednesday night in a nonconference contest.
The Cavaliers got that spark from 5-foot-7 senior guard Alexis Smith, who scored eight points in a 50-second span to help seal the eventual 68-50 victory at Calvert Middle School in Prince Frederick.
Despite only having four points in the first half, Smith finished with 20 points and is 55 points shy of moving past Huntingtown graduate Kaula Jacks for second on the all-time Calvert County scoring list with 1,602 career points.
Smith is 205 away from breaking Northern alum Jen Mitchell’s county scoring record of 1,806.
“We just had to pick it up in the fourth quarter,” said Smith, who is averaging almost 15 points a game. “Westlake came out with a lot of intensity and went on a run and we had to match that. The main thing was that we had to keep our minds in it. That’s what helped us get the win.”
After Westlake trimmed the Calvert lead to 46-37 with 6 minutes 48 left in the final quarter, the Cavaliers (7-1 overall) would explode on a 12-0 run, with Smith scoring eight pivotal points during that span.
Leading all scorers on the night was 5-foot-2 senior guard Jasmine Weems with 21 points and nailed two of the Calvert’s three three-pointers.
“We knew Westlake was going to come at us hard, so we had to play our best ball,” Weems said. “We didn’t want to lose this game. We had to pick each other up and finish strong.”
Calvert head coach Tim Contee added, “Westlake was a very scrappy team, we knew what was expected. Our girls never gave up and didn’t get flustered when Westlake came back. We have to continue to work on the fundamentals and get better every game.”
Westlake (6-2) outscored Calvert 20-15 in the third quarter, but dug itself a huge hole in the first half. Though making a surge in the fourth, it did not have any left in the tank.
The Wolverines were led by junior guard Shanea Butler, who was the only player on the team in double figures with 16 points. Butler, a transfer from Surrattsville in Prince George’s County, averages 21.1 points a game. Freshman forward Nialla Curtis added nine points for Westlake.
“We have a young team,” Westlake head coach Ardell Jackson said. “We are trying to build off each game. We gave ourselves a chance and cut the lead to nine. Calvert could have laid down when we were coming back, but they kept pushing through. That’s why they are the two-time [Class 2A] state champions.”
Calvert surged out to a 16-3 first-quarter lead as 6-foot-2 junior center Daijah Thomas (14 points) scored nine points during the period, despite being in foul trouble for most of the game. Thomas also pulled down 10 rebounds.
The Cavaliers started the second quarter with a 7-0 run and built a 31-12 halftime lead with its suffocating defense that turned into fast break points.
“Our young players got to play tonight, and this gives them very good exposure,” Jackson added. “We are just going to go back to the drawing board and get ready for North Point.”
Calvert made 21 of 28 free throws, 75 percent, while Westlake made 11 of 20 (55 percent) on the night.
“We have to keep working on taking care of the ball every possession,” Weems said. “We have to do a good job of rebounding and boxing out.”
Calvert will travel to Leonardtown at 6:30 tonight for a Southern Maryland Athletic Conference opener, while Westlake will visit North Point in the second game of a boys, girls nonconference doubleheader at 7 tonight.
Smith could pass Jacks into second place on the all-time Calvert County scoring list Monday when the Cavaliers host McDonough at Calvert Middle at 6:30 p.m.