Garaway Girls Basketball

Dulcie Christman has Lady P’s doing the Shamrock shake in 2-OT loss

Dulcie Christman made life tough on the Lady Pirates in 2-OT loss

The Garaway Lady Pirates may well be seeing a big number 54 in their dreams for some time to come.

That big 54 was donned by Barnesville center Dulcie Christman, and Christmas proved to be the difference-make in Barnesville’s 52-47 double-overtime win over Garaway in the Div. III district semifinal game at Cambridge High School Wednesday, March 1.

Christman scored 17 points and hauled in 16 rebounds, but more importantly she dictated the flow of the game.

It seemed as though every time the Lady Pirates ventured into the paint, there stood Christman, making life miserable for any player who dared enter her kingdom.

“She had changed games all year, and we knew they live to penetrate and score or kick it out for threes,” said Shamrocks coach Jamie Carpenter. “We knew we didn’t have to leave their guards open to collapse on them with Dulcie in the paint.”

For a team that thrives on getting to the bucket for its points, the Lady Pirates were thwarted time and again as Christman either swatted shots away or forced Garaway’s penetrating guards to throw up some wild shots or at the least, turn the corner and reset the offense.

“She is really big, and that has been our nemesis all year,” said Garaway coach Dave Shutt. “We tried to challenge her, to screen her out and to push her around a little bit, and we tried to make her work, but she is just so big she made it tough for us in the paint tonight. She was a shot blocker, she was a rim protector, she is a space eater and she changed the way we wanted to play tonight. When you haven’t seen that kind of assize all year long, it makes it tough to suddenly adjust the way you play the game.”

This game was destined to be tight from start to finish from the opening tip. Sydney Mullet gave Garaway a 6-5 lead late in the first period, but Sarah Powell’s three gave the Shamrocks an 8-6 lead after one quarter.

The second quarter saw an impressive effort from Zoe Johnson, who single-handedly kept Garaway in a tight game when it was evident it was going to be a struggle to score points.

Down 10-8, Johnson hit a jumper to knot the score. Paige Morgan scored on a put-back, then Johnson drained another jumper. Garaway got a pair of stops, and Johnson gave Garaway it largest lead of the game at 15-12 with a third jumper and a 3-pointer, but Barnesville answered with scores from Powell and Christman to take a 16-15 edge.

“She is such a competitor,” Shutt said of Johnson. “I thought her run there alleviated some of the pressure our other kids were putting on themselves to have to score.”

Back and forth the score went as the teams traded leads throughout the rest of the quarter, until Barnesville settled in to a 23-22 half-time lead on a long jumper from Kallee Dowler. Shutt said they were actually pleased because they had not played well but trailed by just one point.

However, Christman took control to start the third, blocking a shot, forcing a bad pass and hitting three buckets inside to give Barnesville its biggest lead at 29-22.

Back stormed Garaway as it picked up its defensive pressure, and Kallie Regula and Mullet scored off of steals to trim the deficit to 29-26. Dowler hit a jumper before Maddie Steiner connected on four straight free throws and the Lady P’s were within one at 31-30.

Dowler quickly built the lead back to six with a jumper and a trey, but Haley Shutt closed out the quarter with a steal and a bucket to close to within 36-32 to start the fourth.

A Shutt steal and free throw to start the quarter made it 36-35, and it was again game-on, as the two teams jockeyed for control. Johnson’s 3-pointer tied it at 38, and Shutt tied things again at 40. Barnesville then missed the front end of two one-and-ones, and Garaway took the lead when Shutt drove and finally got by Christman, but with two minutes left, Dowler nailed two free throws to even things at 42. That was when Garaway’s guards took center stage, and handled the rock for the final two minutes looking to win it. However, Steiner’s last-second shot was off the mark and Johnson’s rebound put-back was too far behind the backboard and the teams were off to overtime session number one.

Steiner’s jumper gave Garaway the early lead, but Powell canned a trey to make it 45-44 Barnesville. Abby Star then scored on a put-back to move Barnesville up by three, but Johnson struck again from deep to knot the score at 47. After a Shamrocks miss, Garaway again ran about 80 seconds off the clock before looking for the game-winner. Powell got a fingertip on Johnson’s long jumper and it fell short, and the two teams prepared to lock horns for overtime number two.

It started well for Garaway when Steiner forced a five-second call, but Garaway turned it right back over, and then came the key possession of the game. Barnesville misfired five times on the next trip down the floor, but came away with five consecutive offensive rebounds. The final was Starr, and she split a pair of free throws to give Barnesville the lead.

“That was a killer,” said Shutt. “You work that hard on the defensive end than can’t come away with a rebound. It took a toll from a mental standpoint.”

Garaway turned it over again, and Christman knocked down a shot from in tight, and Garaway’s attempts to penetrate the next two possessions were thwarted by the big center. Dowler made a free throw, and with 13 seconds to play, Baylie McMillen, who had not scored all game, made two clutch free throws to ice the game away.

“I told the kids I was proud of the way we fought back and clawed away at the lead all game,” Shutt said. “Considering we didn’t have four key starters back from last year and we had to pick up an entirely new system this year in my first year, I thought the girls did a remarkable job of competing night in and night out. I am excited about what lies ahead next year for us, with almost everyone back.”

Dowler ended the night with 20 points to join Christman’s performance, while Johnson netted 17, Shutt scored 10, Mullet added nine and Steiner scored eight for the Lady Pirates.

Carpenter said following the game that the last district title won by a Barnesville girls’ basketball team came when three mothers of players on this year’s team were playing in 1997. They will face Tusky Valley for the right to move on to regionals.

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