No Nail-biters In Basketball Title Games

March 20, 1991|By Mike Nortrup | Mike Nortrup,Contributing sports writer

WESTMINSTER — There weren't many heart-stopping moments Sunday evening as the Carroll County Girls Basketball League decided its 1991 champions at WestMiddle School.

Both of its championship games were one-sided affairs.

Westminster Soroptimist topped Westminster Bank, 29-14, to win the Junior Division title, and Mount Airy II cruised past Mount Airy I,53-30, to win the Senior Division crown.

The lopsided games were a bit anticlimactic, as three of the finalists had gone undefeated onthe season, and the fourth, Mount Airy I, had lost only once.

Butin both games, the winners pulled away steadily, leaving little doubt as to who would prevail.

Soroptimist coach Jack Wunderlich, though, had had more than a few doubts when his team's practices started last fall.

With only four returnees from the previous season and nine new girls coming in, he wasn't expecting his 9- to 11-year-olds to mold into the smooth-running unit that eventually evolved.

"I didn't think they'd jell as much as they did," he said. "They all seemed to blossom at the same time."

He said that blossoming occurred near midseason.

"The younger ones would pick up for us when the others weren't going well," he said.

The youngsters, led by Wunderlich's daughter, Courtney, who played point guard, developed a strong fast-break offense that swept them undefeated through the 10-game regular season.

"They played well as a team. They really worked hard inpractice. I guess it was the luck of the draw. We really got a bunchof girls who worked well together," Wunderlich said.

After playoff wins of 23-18 over Westminster Rec Council and 15-12 over St. Joseph's, Soroptimist needed only one more win to take it all.

But thatwin would have to come over Westminster Bank, which also was undefeated.

Westminster Bank had tied Soroptimist for first place in the regular season and had won three postseason games.

But WestminsterBank's coach, Tom Crumley, was maybe wondering how his team had madeit that far.

After defeating Hampstead Jeffery's, 18-11, in the playoffs' opening round, his team found itself trailing Westminster Elks by eight points with less than four minutes left in the second-round game.

But Westminster Bank rallied to tie and won in the secondovertime, as Jill Ibex and Shannon Wynne scored the winning baskets in a 22-18 triumph.

Westminster Bank then had to rally from another eight-point defi

cit to beat Mount Airy, 22-14, in the semifinalgame.

"We had more close games this year than I can ever remember," said Crumley, who has also been Girls League commissioner the past10 years. "We've been coming from behind all year."

But in the finale against Soroptimist, his team ran out of comebacks. Soroptimist,using its fast break, jumped to an 8-3 lead after the first quarter,made it 16-5 at halftime and was never threatened thereafter.

Courtney Wunderlich led the winners with 14 points. Ibex led WestminsterBank with 10.

"We just couldn't stop Courtney and the fast break," said Crumley. "But I'm happy at the way the team pulled together."

Wunderlich was also pleased by his team's performance.

"I'm really happy about it. I get a thrill out of watching the girls improve over the year. If they learn a little bit of basketball along the way, I've done my job, he said.

So has Mount Airy I coach Denny Ahalt, whose team was shooting for its third consecutive Girls League championship in Sunday's Senior Division finale.

But his 12- to 15-year-olds, who had lost only to Mount Airy II during the season, were facing that same team again.

The Dan Beall-coached Mount Airy II squad was sporting a 13-0 record entering the finals.

And Mount Airy II quickly showed why, as it pressed its less-experienced opponents into numerous mistakes.

"We played well in the first quarter but then caved in to the pressure after that," Ahalt said.

Mount Airy IIbroke an early 10-10 tie to pull ahead, 17-13, at the end of the first period, and expanded the lead to 31-19 at half


The winners continued to add to the lead.

Amber Clutter and Sarah McGinley led the winners with 18 and 10 points, respectively. Cara Consuegrapaced Mount Airy I with 13.

Ahalt is already looking to next year, when many of his players are eligible to return.

"We were a veryyoung team this year. They can only improve," he said.

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