Frederick’s girls basketball team, a three-time defending state champion, has been dealing with upheaval over the past nine days.
The Cadets lost five players, including several starters, from their varsity team for undisclosed reasons. This forced Frederick to fold its junior varsity team so those young players could fill vacancies on the varsity roster.
Nonetheless, the Cadets have continued to win. Granted, their latest victory was far from easy.
Facing a pesky Linganore team that was also missing some key players, visiting Frederick needed another monster game from junior standout Rose Bubakar to hold on for a 44-35 win on Thursday.
Since their win over Urbana on Feb. 4, the Cadets lost seniors Rhiana Hall, Saniya Dorsey and Kamara Barnes, sophomore Yanessa Boyd and freshman Yanniah Boyd.
Frederick coach Ashley Bush didn’t give a reason for the departures.
“They’re just no longer on the team. That’s it,” she said after Thursday’s game. “And we won. So, that’s our focus. We’ve got a season to complete.”
Bubakar has helped the Cadets (16-3) deal with the late-season adversity. The forward’s repertoire has expanded considerably from the days when she did the bulk of her damage inside the paint, and her versatility has been invaluable for Frederick lately.
On Thursday, Bubakar often brought the ball up the court, handled it at the perimeter, dished off passes and took long jumpers.
She finished with a game-high 24 points, including two 3-pointers, along with eight rebounds, four steals, three assists and three blocks.
“She’s a great player. She’s a dynamic player,” Linganore coach Rachael Easterday said.
Bubakar has practiced running the point against boys, figuring if she can handle the ball against them, she can handle it against anybody she’ll face in games.
As for jumpers, she practices them relentlessly to expand her endurance.
“So, knowing how to shoot when I’m tired, if I can make it when I’m tired, I can make it when I’m in the game,” she said.
Bubakar hit her second 3 with 7:25 left in the fourth quarter, giving the Cadets a 40-28 lead, and she ended up scoring all seven of Frederick’s points during that period to help fend off Linganore’s comeback.
Most of the night, Bubakar also fed nice passes to teammates, including one to sophomore Kimani Kelly in the second quarter and one to Asha Lacet that led to open layups.
Lacet’s basket gave the Cadets a 37-26 lead with 17 seconds left in the third quarter.
“She’s always there when I need her,” Bubakar said.
“They were double-teaming her the majority of the second half,” Lacet said of Bubakar. “So I have to step up, and I have to be available so I can score as well.”
Lacet had seven rebounds and four steals, and Brianna Feifer had eight points.
Linganore hung around the Cadets all night despite playing without starting point guard Darbe Reesman and reserve post player Lexi Cioffi. They collided head-to-head battling for a loose ball against Tuscarora.
Easterday said Cioffi is day-to-day after getting eight stitches in her face, while Reesman has a concussion.
Despite those absences, the Lancers battled back from a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter. They only trailed 40-35 when Hannah Ratchford drove the center of the lane and hit a layup with 4:21 left.
Key turnovers against Frederick’s tight defense were crucial down the stretch, but Easterday had no complaints about her team’s performance, especially without Reesman. Ratchford, primarily a shooting guard in the past, ran the point on Thursday.
“Hannah Ratchford, she stepped up and did a great job. I’m very proud of her,” Easterday said. “The total minutes she’s actually played point guard this year is less than 20.”
Linzee Morris led the Lancers (12-8) with 14 points and four rebounds. Easterday also mentioned reserve Erin Patterson’s defense and Taylor Ferguson’s work on the post.