At halftime, the Frederick girls took a deep breath and re-centered themselves.
They were playing too fast against visiting Tuscarora on Friday night, and they knew it.
Shots weren’t falling. The whole offense seemed a tad out of rhythm. And that was allowing Tuscarora to hang around longer than many teams do against the three-time reigning Class 3A champions in girls basketball. The Titans trailed by just seven at halftime.
“We had a lot of energy, we just had to learn how to control it,” senior point guard Kamara Barnes said.
Among the Cadets who struggled to find a rhythm in the first half was junior Rose Bubakar, the team’s leading scorer. But, given the chance to take a step back and refocus at halftime, Bubakar was a different player in the second half.
She scored 21 of her game-high 28 points in the second half, including 13 of her team’s 19 in the third quarter, as Frederick pulled away for a 56-38 victory.
“I just wasn’t doing what I normally do in the first half, which I need to pick up on so I can stay consistent throughout the whole game,” Bubakar said.
Asked what she wasn’t doing, she said, “When I am down in the post, I need to know what I am doing quicker. When I have it, I think about what I do. In the second half when I was down there, I knew exactly what I needed to do to get the defense off of me.”
Bubakar got to her preferred spot on the floor, in the low post on the right side of the basket, far more often in the second half, and Tuscarora had a tough time stopping her.
She made six layups from that very spot in the third quarter alone.
“She was finishing way better in the second half,” Barnes said. “Even though they weren’t calling the fouls, she was still finishing.”
Tuscarora (7-6) trailed by six points with 3 minutes, 14 seconds remaining in the third quarter before Frederick (10-3) began to pull away.
Titans coach Charlie Thomas thought that Frederick made an adjustment to the zone defense (2-3 and 1-3-1) his team was playing, which gave Bubakar more space to operate.
“Frederick is a good team. Transition wise, they got up and down the floor on us a couple of times,” Thomas said. “Bubakar is a great player. Young, athletic and well-coached.”
Bubakar added 18 rebounds to go along with her scoring. Senior guard Saniya Dorsey was Frederick’s only other scorer in double figures with 10 points, in addition to five assists and three rebounds.
Tuscarora, meanwhile, was led by senior Hannah Thompson, who finished with 10 points. Camille Martin added nine points for the Titans, who missed a handful of layups and 12 free throws, which would have helped to keep them in the game.
“We are still young. We are still trying to figure this thing out,” Thomas said. “It’s back to the drawing board, I guess.”