Gaithersburg upsets Paint Branch -- Gazette.Net


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The Gaithersburg High School girls basketball team took another giant step in its season-long maturation process and it came at the expense of the host Paint Branch Panthers Friday night.

Playing without senior point guard Deja Rollins, who was held out to nurse a knee injury that has slowed her much of the season, the Trojans eked out a 67-64 overtime victory against Paint Branch behind the all-around play of Janessa Fauntroy, a point-guard-by-committee approach, and a key 3-point play by Danielle Rojas in the extra period for the team’s eighth straight win.

“It’s a really good win to have,” said Fauntroy, who produced 17 points, 11 rebounds and a handful of blocks before fouling out late in overtime. “We were in the locker room yelling and screaming. It was really, really nerve-racking because most of us didn’t know [that Rollins was sitting out] until we got here. We were like why isn’t she changing? What’s going on? But we knew that without Deja, we had to do the fundamentals; we had to help get the ball up the court. We just played the way that we know how to play. It was hard but we got through it. It was a learning process.”

Trailing 49-45 with 4:35 left in regulation on a 3-pointer by Paint Branch guard Kiara Colston (20 points), the Trojans went on a 6-0 run fueled largely by back-to-back transition jumpers by Briana Jones (15 points, 6 rebounds) for a short-lived 51-49 advantage.

Erin French sandwiched a pair of jumpers around a fastbreak layup by Daisa Harris (16 points) off one of several steals by the Panthers (14-3) to give them a 55-51 lead with 1:37 left in regulation. The Trojans (11-4), however, forced overtime with four straight free throws by Fauntroy and Dejanai Lowe-Hillard and then a block by Fauntroy on a running jump shot by Harris with around 12 seconds left in the game. Neither team got a shot off the rest of the fourth quarter.

“At the end of the day, it comes down to who wants it more and I think we definitely stepped up, considering we were missing one of our key players — we didn’t really have a point guard today,” said Jones, whose team committed nearly 30 turnovers in the win. “The girls really stepped up. I myself felt like I stepped up. This was a big win for us. It’s just a side of the team that I’ve never seen.”

French scored the first bucket of the overtime period and Autumn Ashe connected on a 3-pointer from the right win to stake Paint Branch to a 60-57 lead, but a layup by Fauntroy and a 3-point play by Rojas (11 points, 9 rebounds) secured the lead for Gaithersburg for good behind just enough free throw makes in the final 56.5 seconds plus a near miss by Panthers guard Jasmine White at the buzzer. White’s shot from the right wing just rimmed out.

Rojas set up the 3-point play with a running rebound and then jumper in traffic inside the free throw lane. She split two defenders for the rebound and the shot.

“I think my team played really hard today; the [free throw] line hurt us [going 15-for-25] but as far as effort and leaving it out on the floor, they did that,” said Panthers coach Rochelle Coleman, whose team had its 11-game win streak snapped Friday. “I’m proud of the effort. I’m not too disappointed. It’s something to build on for the rest of the season and the playoffs.”

jpeters@gazette.net



Gaithersburg 67, Paint Branch 64 (OT)

Gaithersburg 11 15 13 16 12 — 67

Paint Branch 14 17 10 14 9 — 64

Gaithersburg (11-4): Janessa Fauntroy 17, Stephanie Pantos 7, Danielle Rojas 11, Briana Jones 15, Christine Mabry 10, Dejanai Lowe-Hillard 7.

Paint Branch (14-3): Erin French 8, Kiara Colston 20, Autumn Ashe 9, Daisa Harris 16, Symrin Greenhow 1, Jasmine White 5, Leila Nicholas 5.