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Staff writer

Hopes for a Maryland Independent Schools Athletic League girls basketball championship for Calverton were put on ice Feb. 21 after the visiting Tigers thumped the Cougars 46-18 in a semifinal match-up.

Takoma 46, Calverton 18

Takoma 14 15 8 9

Calverton 9 2 3 4

Takoma: Thomas 10, Seymour 10, Dennis 9, West 9, Perez 4, Hall 2, Habtemariam 2

Calverton: Bouchard 10, Manning 6, Horan 2

Free throws: Takoma 5-13 (Seymour 2-3); Calverton 1-5 (Manning 1-2)

3-point goals: Takoma 1 (Thomas); Calverton 1 (Manning)

The Cougars (12-7 overall) trailed just 14-9 following the first quarter, but saw their hopes for a berth in the championship game slip away after Takoma Academy of Montgomery County scored the first 15 points of the second period to take an insurmountable 29-11 lead into the break.

The Cougars last won a MISAL tournament title in 2001-02. They won three straight championships from 1996-97 to 1998-99.

“It was the best season I could probably ask for,” said Calverton head coach Savannah Webb, who added the key to the team’s success was its plethora of athletes. “I was happy, I’m proud of them. We had a great run. I mean, compared to where we were last year we went above and beyond that so that’s as much as I could ask for.”

Calverton, which earned the top seed in the Bay Division, scored just four points in a regular season loss to the Tigers on Jan. 8.

“Compared to our last game, we definitely improved offensively,” said Calverton sophomore forward Elise Bouchard, who scored a team-high 10 points in the semis. “The biggest problem [tonight] was probably our boxing out and moving on offense but we definitely improved throughout the year and I’m proud of us.”

The Tigers (22-5), who were the second seed in the Capital Division, held Calverton to single-digit scoring in each quarter and just seven points over the second half.

“It’s a great feeling,” Takoma head coach Don Thrower said. “We were a little lackadaisical in the beginning in our zone so we had to go to a man [defense] to get out of our little funk we were in and turn up the defense a bit. We were working hard, so it’s good for the seniors because they want to go out on a high note.”

And the Tigers did exactly that Saturday after they defeated Spencerville Adventist Academy, also of Montgomery County, 57-45 at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf in Washington, D.C., to win their third-straight MISAL tournament title.

“I’m just glad we were able to make it this far and play to the best of our abilities,” Takoma senior guard Asya Thomas said after the semifinal win over the Cougars.

Thomas and teammate Avery Seymour tied for the team lead with 10 points apiece, while Nia Dennis and Valarie Westney each added nine points.

Calverton was without leading scorer Shannon Moore, who went down with an ankle injury in the team’s quarterfinal win over visiting Seed Academy of Washington, D.C., on Feb. 19. But the Cougars did have the benefit of having Katie Lerch — who was out with a broken nose — return to the lineup.

Cheyenne Manning added six points for the Cougars, including a late first quarter three-pointer that pulled Calverton to within 12-9, and Angelina Horan scored two.

Both teams struggled from the charity stripe as Takoma converted 5 of 13 (38 percent) from the free-throw line and Calverton hit 1 of 5 (20 percent).

“A lot of rushing shots, a lot of errant passes,” Webb said of her team’s downfall. “We played good defense, but we couldn’t score, so that’s going to hurt you every time.”

The loss snapped Calverton’s six-game winning streak. The Cougars also added a four-game win streak beginning in early December.

“I’m very happy,” Bouchard said, “and our coach is happy and [athletic director Greg] Zecca’s happy, so it’s great.”

mreid@somdnews.com