By Hannah Butera
After a tough road defeat at Atholton on Wednesday, January 11th, which ended a nine game winning streak by Glenelg girl’s varsity basketball, senior co-captain Grace Butera knew how critical it was for the team to get back on track. Friday, January 13th, in front of an energetic Glenelg home crowd, the Gladiators got the job done. “We knew we didn’t play well Wednesday night at Atholton and a lot of us were very disappointed; but we talked about the importance of putting it behind us and coming out strong tonight and that’s what we did,” said Butera. The girls proved their ability to turn it around in their competition against Centennial.
After opening the season with a tough loss against Marriotts Ridge, the defending 3A State Champion Gladiators went on a nine game winning streak, which included tough games on the road against Gaithersburg and River Hill. After a tough loss Wednesday night at the hands of rival Atholton, the Gladiators sent a message to the rest of the county that they wouldn’t stay down for long; dominating the game against Centennial. Glenelg’s aggressive man to man defense set the tone for the game, allowing the visiting Eagles only four points in the first quarter; leading to a 10-4 first quarter lead. Junior Jessica Foster had 7 points in the first to lead all scorers, while Seniors Grace Butera and Julia Wolfrey shut down Centennial’s big scorers and dominated the boards. Glenelg was not the only team to show up on defense tonight however, as Centennial’s height and quickness made scoring difficult for the home team. Continuing their strong defensive showing in the second quarter, the Glads pulled out to a 21-13 halftime lead, holding Centennial to a season low halftime total.
Following some halftime adjustments by Coach Chris Beil, the Gladiators came out on fire in the third quarter. Glenelg scored 14 in the quarter, including a long range shot delivered by Jess Foster for 3, and a perfectly executed pick and roll play with Foster feeding the ball to Butera for a strong finish. Kellie Johnson continued her domination of the offensive glass, accounting for 4 offensive rebounds in the third quarter, while Julia Wolfrey finished the quarter with a spectacular drive to the basket. While the offense was incredibly strong, Glenelg continued to pressure Centennial on the defensive end of the floor, allowing only 7 points in the third quarter, opening up a 15 point lead. Senior co-captain Julia Wolfrey talked about the explosive third quarter, saying, “we felt like we outplayed them big time in the first half but the scoreboard didn’t show it. We knew we had to finish plays coming out of halftime.” Wolfrey, who finished the game with 7 points and 8 rebounds also said, “we made some good offensive adjustments at halftime and coach called a couple of great plays out of our timeouts that really got us going.” Wolfrey was right, the offensive explosiveness had a substantial impact on the girls victory.
Glenelg began to slow the pace of the game early in the fourth quarter using most of the shot clock in each possession. The Glads maintained their third quarter margin for most of the fourth quarter before pulling most of the starters midway through the fourth. Centennial cut the lead to 10 due to leading scorer Risa Welsh’s consistent three pointers. However, Glenelg reserves were up to the task and closed out a hard fought win. “This was a big win for us tonight,” said Grace Butera, who added 4 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists. “Some nights it’s not necessarily pretty but you do what you have to do to get the win.” Glenelg was led by Jess Foster with 21 points, while Kellie Johnson chipped in with 3 points and 6 rebounds. The win tonight brings Glenelg’s season tally to 10-2, while the visiting Centennial Eagles fall to 4-7. Next up for Glenelg is a road game at Reservoir, while the Eagles travel to River Hill.