With around three minutes left in the first half of Wednesday’s Class 2A West Region semifinal girls basketball game, South Carroll looked like it just might survive early foul trouble experienced by its top player, Makeba Ndifang, who received her second foul with 4 minutes, 15 seconds left in the first quarter and sat the rest of the half.
The Cavaliers trailed by a single point at 12-11, but after missing four layups and numerous other shots, host and second-seeded Poolesville went on an 11-2 run to take a 23-13 halftime lead and never looked back en route to a 46-33 victory and a spot in Friday’s 2A West Region championship game against Frederick County’s Middletown.
“Makeba got early fouls and we had to sit her,” South Carroll coach Liz Padgett said. “I thought we were almost out of that quarter and then it was boom, boom, boom. Give Poolesville’s credit, they did what they wanted to us tonight. They were ready to play and they looked like they’ve been in this situation.”
Neither team could get much going offensively for much of the first half until two straight baskets by Jocelyn Bodmer (10 points), a layup by Rosie Barry (9 points) and then five straight points by Kelsey Carnahan (13 points) staked the Falcons to that 10-point halftime advantage.
“We just started making some shots and creating momentum in the game,” said Carnahan, who netted a 3-pointer with about 26 seconds left in the second quarter and then added a steal and layup in the final 10 seconds of the half. “We passed a lot better and we were outrebounding them the whole time.”
The Cavaliers (16-8) scored the first basket of the second half, but Poolesville responded with a 7-0 run, including a transition layup by Carnahan and a 3-pointer by Kelley Hughes, to extend its lead to 30-15 with 5:42 left in the third quarter. “The last 2, 3 minutes of the first half kind of broke it open a little bit,” Falcons coach Fred Swick said.
Poolesville’s lead grew to as much as 20 points in the third quarter before a 7-0 run by South Carroll, including a 3-pointer by Paige Baxter, trimmed the deficit to 37-23 going into the final eight minutes.
Ndifang, a double-double machine all season, finally got loose in the fourth quarter, but her seven points in the closing quarter was not nearly enough to avoid the end of South Carroll’s season. Ndifang finished with a game-high 14 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks.
“I thought defensively we did a nice job in the zone, collapsing on [Ndifang] and I thought we did a fairly decent job of getting out on their shooters,” Swick said. “They didn’t have a whole lot of easy looks.”
Poolesville 46, South Carroll 33
South Carroll 9 4 10 10 — 33
Poolesville 7 16 14 9 — 46
South Carroll (16-8): Kristine Tennyson 2, Makeba Ndifang 14, Nicole Levy 6, Paige Baxter 5, Miranda Sharp 2, Brianna Heim 4.
Poolesville (19-5): Whitney Carmack 2, Kelsey Carnahan 13, Anna Murgia 2, Rosie Barry 9, Kelley Hughes 6, Jocelyn Bodmer 10, Shannon Hemp 4.