- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
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By AJ MASON
Entering Wednesday night’s contest, the North Point girls basketball team came in red hot with 16 straight wins to start the season defeating its opponents by an average of 29 points a game, while scoring 74 points a game.
The Eagles expected to have their hands full with two-time defending Class 2A state champion Calvert, but their depth and ball-hawking defensive pressure wore down the visitors in a 60-43 convincing victory.
With the victory North Point (17-0, 7-0 SMAC) collected its 28th straight SMAC win and will have a chance to wrap up its fourth conference title in five seasons with only five games remaining before playoffs.
It will take on county rival Westlake on the road today in the second of a boys, girls doubleheader at 7 p.m.
The Eagles handed Calvert (13-2, 6-1) its first conference loss of the season and snapped its nine-game win streak. After averaging a little over 70 points a game, Calvert’s 43 points was the lowest it has scored this season.
“We were very sound and disciplined on defense and we executed tonight,” North Point head coach Michael Serpone said. “Our girls came out hard and were able to beat Calvert’s pressure all night, they couldn’t get anything going. We took them out of what they wanted to do. We saw them on film and we worked on press breaks over and over. We played a very good game tonight.”
With a balanced attack, North Point was led by 6-foot-1 senior guard Tasia Butler with a game-high 19 points, while 6-foot-2 forward Khalia Prather was a force inside with 13 points.
The Eagles built a 31-14 halftime lead and extended the lead to 50-22 after three quarters. The Eagles once took a 30-point lead early in the fourth before Calvert brought the deficit under 20 points towards the end of the game.
“Our overall mentality from the time we were in the locker room to the time we were on the floor was to bring it tonight,” Prather said. “We knew what Calvert had, they are a very good team and we knew that they had [seven] players, that made us go even harder. It feels good to beat our SMAC rivals, but we still have some work to do.”
Senior guard Chalise Greenwood (9 points) and senior forward Ebane Mainor (six points) were also huge contributions offensively for the Eagles to deter the fast-paced Cavaliers.
“We are happy to keep the streak going,” Butler said. “We expected a close game, but we knew we had to shut down their key players. Once the first half ended, we just had to keep our foot on their throats and pick up the defense.”
Junior Daijah Thomas (team-high 13 points) and senior guard Jasmine Weems (10 points), two of Calvert’s starters, had three fouls midway through the second quarter and were forced to sit the bench and North Point took full advantage immediately.
Calvert, which only has a seven-player roster, had been successful this season thus far with limited substitutions, but ran up against a deeper team on Wednesday that was executing on all cylinders.
“We didn’t handle the defensive pressure well,” Calvert head coach Tim Contee said. “We didn’t execute our half-court offense, and regardless of who we had on the court, we had to do that. So I don’t think fouls was the only reason that we lost tonight. Just because we have a good record does not mean we don’t have things to work on. We still have some room for improvement.”
After taking a 16-11 first-quarter lead, the Eagles outscored Calvert 15-3 in the second quarter and collected a 19-point third quarter, again holding Calvert to a single digit quarter with eight.
“We came out with the mindset to make a statement,” Butler said. “We really wanted this game it was in our house.”
Calvert senior Alexis Smith, a Drexel University commit, was held to only seven points in the loss, way under her average of 16.7 points a game.
Smith currently has 1,734 career points and is 73 points away from the breaking the Calvert County all-time scoring record that is still held by Northern alum Jen Mitchell, who scored 1,806.
Calvert has seven regular games left and will take on its county rival Huntingtown on the road at 6:30 tonight in the second game of boys, girls doubleheader.