Crystal Salit is in her comfort zone beyond the 3-point arc, and she’s got the records to prove it.
Maryland School for the Deaf’s 5-foot-5 junior guard set the program’s all-time record for 3-pointers last season. Based on her play on Friday in the first day of the Oriole Classic, there’s no telling how high she can push the mark.
Salit had five 3-pointers among her game-high 23 points in MSD’s 67-24 win over Chapelgate Christian, a victory that put the Orioles (8-2) in position to win their fourth straight tournament crown at 1 p.m. Saturday, when they face the Loudoun County Patriots in the girls championship game.
While Salit specializes in the long-range shots, she’s doesn’t shoot haphazardly.
“Momentum is the key,” Salit said. “When I’ve got the momentum, I’ll go for the 3-point shot if it’s there.”
Salit’s 3-point capability fits well into the Orioles’ up-tempo style of play, installed this year by first-year head coach Elena Ciccarelli, an assistant under former MSD head coach Amy Mowl for the last few years. Ciccarelli’s previous experience made the transition to the head-coaching spot easier.
MSD’s trademark under Ciccarelli is stressing the fast break when it’s there, spreading the ball out when it’s not, and playing stubborn pressure defense.
“This is new to them,” Ciccarelli said. “But they’ve adjusted to this style of play very well.”
Three Chapelgate turnovers to start the game resulted in three straight scores for MSD. Salit fired up her first 3-pointer in the first minute of the game after the first Yellow Jackets’ turnover.
Over the next 30 seconds of play, Hannah Weiss converted two more Chapelgate miscues into scores. MSD went on to hold a 9-0 lead with 4:26 to go in the first quarter. The rout was on.
The Orioles led 13-1 after one quarter and 27-12 at the half. The game went into running time with about four minutes left in the game.
Citrine Lummer had 16 points and six rebounds. Weiss had 14 points, 13 rebounds and eight steals. Sierra Herzig-Wilcox had five assists and three steals.
MSD 70, Heritage Academy 34
Jory Valencia had 20 points with nine rebounds for Maryland School for the Deaf (6-2), which has earned a rematch with the Loudoun County Patriots in Saturday’s championship game at 2:30 p.m.
Enow Otto had 14 points with nine rebounds for the Orioles. Jaden Joseph had 13 points with six rebounds, six assists and two blocks. Ethan Sheppeck had 10 points with five steals and three assists. Miguel Pavao had four assists. Zion Ortiz had 12 rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Patriots 53, Force boys 51
The Loudoun County Patriots rallied from a 12-point deficit at the end of the third quarter, overtaking the Frederick Force (4-9) in the last two minutes of the game for the win.
The Force had one last chance to tie the game in the last 9.3 seconds, trailing 52-51, but they turned the ball over. The Patriots converted one of two foul shots in the closing seconds.
Nathan Bowes and Sam Bowes each had 11 points for the Force.
The Force plays an 11:30 a.m. consolation game Saturday.