South Carroll's Erin Slifer, left, drives to the basket… (Photo for The Baltimore…)
South Carroll forward Katie Mathias got the tough inside game she expected Friday night from No. 14 Liberty, but her teammates provided plenty of help to complement her strong effort.
The 5-foot-11 junior scored 21 points, while Maggie Payne hit three 3-pointers and Erin Quinn grabbed 14 rebounds as the host Cavaliers used an all-around game on offense and defense to take a 54-37 victory over their top Carroll County rival.
The victory gives the Cavaliers (10-1) sole possession of first place in the county and the Monocacy Valley Athletic League Chesapeake Conference at 6-0. The Lions drop to 6-2 overall and 5-1 in the county and conference.
"We were really concentrated on the inside game," Mathias said, "because we have five really good posts on our team and anyone can go in at any time. It was a battle. We worked really well with the passes. Nikki [Heim] and Erin [Quinn] had amazing inside passes and we work on that every day."
The Cavaliers led the entire game, running the margin to 11 points late in the first half with the help of two 3-pointers by Payne. Their switching defenses had the Lions struggling on offense through most of the game, as they hit just 10 of 48 shots from the field.
Liberty's Haley Marlatt scored a career-high 23 points and had 10 rebounds. The 6-foot-1 forward played aggressively under the basket and that showed, as she ended up with 16 free throws — and hit 11 of them. She scored 11 of the Lions' 13 first-half points.
Marlatt said the Lions haven't been working as well together lately as they should be
"In the past few games, it's been one person shining," she said. "It really needs to be everyone on the court, dumping it down, dishing it off and then in the stats, it should be everyone with even points — not that one star."
The Lions got off to a rough start, turning the ball over eight times in the first first six minutes and hitting just three of 22 shots in the first half.
Liberty coach Jessica Morgan said her team has a history of coming out tight against the Cavaliers, who won both meetings last season en route to the county and conference titles.
The Lions, however, won the Class 2A West regional title and went to the state semifinals a year ago after the Cavaliers stumbled in the regional semifinals against North Hagerstown, and Liberty went on to beat the Hubs.
Friday night, the Lions were within 35-26 after Marlatt's layup ended the third quarter. Quinn hit a baseline jumper to open the fourth quarter and that set off a 13-5 Cavaliers run during which the Lions hit only free throws.
"We shut them down defensively," South Carroll coach Liz Padgett said. "They had a hard time knocking down shots. They didn't get great looks. Defensively, switching it up was good for us … and I give the kids credit. They wanted the game. They showed up to play."
L—K.McCormick 2, Cross 3, M.McCormick 9, Marlatt 23. Totals 10 16-21 37.
SC—Slifer 5, Quinn 5, Mathias 21, Heim 6, Payne 11, Kelly 6. Totals 22 7-9 54. Half: SC, 22-13.