In front of a lively hometown crowd, the Lady Coyotes opened their 2018-19 season with a 59-48 victory at home against UpCounty rival Damascus last Friday.
Clarksburg didn’t surrender its lead at any point during the game, holding a 21-point halftime lead over Damascus after a low-scoring first quarter.
“I was pleased with the kids,” head coach Sissy Natoli said. “Sometimes when you have a lead it’s easy to get complacent, but they were able to lock back in the last few minutes and get it done.”
It took both teams a while to find their offensive footing in the first quarter, as both the Lady Coyotes and Swarmin’ Hornets missed easy shots throughout the first three minutes of the game.
Clarksburg then took a 2-0 lead, increasing it to 3-0 with a free throw before Damascus finally got on the board. The opening period would end with Clarksburg in front 7-6.
The Lady Coyotes soon found their offensive footing in the second quarter, led by point guard Mia Smith who would finish as the game’s top scorer.
“I’m so excited for her, she really played a great game tonight,” Natoli said. “[She] kept our offense going, she organized our defense. How about that for a freshman?”
Damascus soon began to close the gap in the second half, narrowing Clarksburg’s lead to 46-34 by the end of the third quarter.
“We turn the ball over like nobody’s business, but then we’ll steal it, so if we turn it over we’re going to be right on you,” Natoli said. “We just need to settle down a little bit, maybe not try to go deep on every play, because those turnovers, a lot of them went from maybe a rebound to three-quarters down the court, and [Damascus was] there waiting for it.”
Behind the steadiness of team captains Sienna Williams, Katie Dailey and Megan Kerchaert, along with Smith’s offensive productivity, the Lady Coyotes were able to close the game out 59-48.
“[Damascus] stepped up and started making some shots, and we were thinking about playing basketball instead of playing it,” Natoli said. “Sometimes when you have that hesitation, all of a sudden they step in front, they steal, and they had almost a 10 to [12-point] run at one point. We were just trying to get back on defense, took the press off, settle down, kids caught their ball, and we were able to close it.”
The Lady Coyotes were back in action on Tuesday hosting Sherwood. That game ended in the Lady Warriors winning 53-51 in overtime. The Lady Coyotes are now 1-1, while Sherwood remains unbeaten at 2-0. The Warriors defeated Rockville 49-36 in its season opener last week.
Tonight the Lady Coyotes will travel to face winless Watkins Mill for a Friday night tussle. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:15 pm in Montgomery Village.
Top: Clarksburg point guard Mia Smith (14) led all scorers in the Lady Coyoyte’s season opening win over Damascus on Friday, December 7.
Photo by Billy Owens for Germantown Pulse