Going into Tuesday night’s second round playoff game against Quince Orchard, Clarksburg girls’ basketball Head Coach Cecilia Natoli wanted her girls to turn up their defense. As such, the team spent the days counting down to their third match-up with the Lady Cougars running defensive drills and learning how to make stops without fouling.
The work paid off, on Tuesday as the 16-7 Lady Coyotes traveled to play the 15-8 Lady Cougars at Quince Orchard High School — the scene of Monday night’s boys match-up between the two schools which ended in Clarksburg upsetting top-seeded Cougars. For the second night in a row a Clarksburg team defeated Quince Orchard, but unlike the boys’ game, one this wasn’t even close.
In the previous two meetings this season, the teams split tight contests. Clarksburg won the first meeting 65-59 on January 21, and Quince Orchard evened the series with a 67-65 home victory on February 17.
Last night, Clarksburg defeated Quince Orchard by 40 points, 70-30 with a blinding defensive display in which the Lady Coyotes did not allow a single point in the second quarter.
“I am so proud of the kids and the way they played great tonight,” said Natoli after the game. “We had to do something to stop their point guard, she is amazing,” said Natoli referring to Quince Orchard’s Jordan Odom. “Jordan is amazing and every time we’ve played them this season, she has spotted 25- to 30-points. We said if we can slow her down, we are going to be in this game. So we were working hard on defense this week — on just trying to make a stop. We worked on how to make a stop without fouling. We could make stops, but we were fouling so much in the first part of this season, so we tried to eliminate that and play a little bigger.”
Quince Orchard’s sophomore Jordan Odom still managed to lead her team with 16 points in the game, and she was fouled while making her first shot of the game it seemed that Clarksburg’s defensive work was for naught. Odom would convert the bonus point and give Quince Orchard a 3-2 lead early in the first quarter. Later in the quarter, Odom would drill a three-pointer to extend the lead to 7-2, and the everyone in the QO gym began to settle in for another close game between these Division 4A rivals. Indeed, the Lady Cougars jumped out to 10-2 lead in the first quarter.
And then the game changed. Clarksburg’s defense stepped up and shutdown the QO offense allowing only two points for the next 11:54, encompassing the entire second quarter. Clarksburg went on a 35-2 run, which was finally ended when QO’s Amanda Bishop hit a three-pointer with 7:06 left in the third quarter.
During that run, Clarksburg’s senior Kaylan Jackson became the all-time leading scorer in Clarksburg history as she drove the basket and dropped in a layup for her 922nd point. In a nice gesture of good sportsmanship, Quince Orchard allowed the game to be stopped and Jackson to be honored by her coach and team. She was given flowers and a nice round of applause.
“We were hoping that she would have done it at home,” said Coach Natoli, “but you have to recognize those little things in life that are valuable. I checked with their coach before the game and said it would not be a problem. Giving her that accolade provided energy for her and our whole team, the girls felt like they were a part of something special.”
“It feels great,” said Jackson, who would extend her record to 927, and had 10 points in the win. “I knew I was close to breaking the record and I wanted to make history.”
In the second half, Quince Orchard tried hard, but could not find a way to battle back into the game. Clarksburg played tight, clean defense fouling only 15 times, and never getting into the double-bonus.
The Lady Coyotes finished the game with four girls in double-digits, including Jackson. The Coyotes were led by senior Gabby Haddad, who had 18 points, and fellow senior Jamiere Jefferies and sophomore Phylicia McInnis added 16 apiece.
The win earns the Lady Coyotes a home game on Thursday night as a result of Gaithersburg defeating top-seeded Kennedy, 46-43 at Kennedy last night. Clarksburg will host Gaithersburg at 6:00 pm on Thursday, March 3. That game will be another rubber match as the teams split their regular season meetings. Gaithersburg won by one point, 53-52 back on January 12, and Clarksburg won by two, 59-57 on February 2.
Top: Clarksburg’s sophomore guard Phylicia McInnis (32) and senior Taylor Hall (34) bear down to defend Quince Orchard’s top scorer Jordan Odom (1).
Next: Senior Kaylan Jackson (3) skies for a record-breaking basket. With this basket, Jackson became Clarksburg’s all-time highest scorer.
Next: Blinded by her own hair, Clarksburg senior Gabby Haddad (22) goes up for a layup. She would finish with 18 points to lead all scorers.
Next: Senior Renee Anya (21) attempts a layup in Tuesday night’s 70-30 victory over Quince Orchard.
Next: Clarksburg's Kaylan Jackson (3) defends Quince Orchard's Maggie Regan (11). The Lady Coyotes emphasizeddefense in practice leading up to Tuesday night's game.
Photos by Germantown Pulse.