Bishop's 500th victory is Western romp

February 26, 1994|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Special to The Sun

The gifts sat on a desk in the Western physical education

office. A basket of flowers, a box of roses, a doll and several cards -- all of which arrived soon after the game ended.

These presents did not come in celebration of the 69-34 victory host and No. 2 Western scored over No. 14 Poly in the Baltimore City Public Schools championship last night. Instead, they came for Western coach Breezy Bishop, who registered her 500th career victory in the game.

For Western, this was the 12th Baltimore City championship in the past 16 years. The Doves improve to 19-2 on the season and will be the top seed in the Class 4A North Region playoffs.

They draw a bye in the first round and play their first game at home on Wednesday. Poly (19-3) will be the top seed in the Class 3A East Region and also opens its playoff schedule on Wednesday at home.

The story of this game was defense -- namely Western's. The Doves' relentless pressure helped force 36 Poly turnovers and continually disrupted the Engineers' offense.

Poly suffered through several dry spells on offense. The Engineers went 6:30 and 4:35 without a basket in the first half. Then, in the third quarter, Western outscored the Engineers, 18-0, to break the game open.

During that stretch, Poly turned the ball over on seven straight possessions and 10 out of 12 times down the floor. Western did not allow Poly a shot for over three minutes.

"The defensive pressure was definitely the key," said Poly coach Mark Sawyer, whose team hit only 11 of 43 from the field. "It was very difficult to get the ball inside. They contested every pass."

Bishop said she was thrilled with the Doves' defensive effort.

"I thought that today was the best defense I've seen the whole team play this season," said Bishop. "It couldn't have come at a better time."

Western led, 31-17, at halftime but struggled at times in the first half. The Doves used a 23-3 first-half run to take a comfortable lead, but did not take command until early in the second half.

At Bishop's urging, the Doves started pounding the ball inside, especially to Chanel Wright (22 points, 10 rebounds). Wright scored 15 of her points in the second half, mostly from the lane, as Western began to roll. The Doves outscored Poly, 20-4, in the third quarter.

"All the mistakes we made in the first half, we wanted to correct," said Wright. "It was easy."

Nine Western players scored, led by Wright, Kimberly Smith (10), Tesha Tinsley and Danielle Davis with nine apiece. Kelly Logan led Poly with 10.

In the end, the biggest numbers were Bishop's, now with a career record of 500-107 in high school, college and AAU competition. Bishop is 350-30 at Western, 68-13 in AAU ball and 82-64 while coaching Coppin State, Johns Hopkins and Towson State.

Bishop seemed almost embarrassed by the spotlight.

Bishop said she's been blessed with good assistants, such as Sue Furnary and Herb Simon, and good players. But more important than wins, said Bishop, is what her players do after Western.

She said the victories are nice, but the fact that over the last 15 tTC years all 58 of her basketball players got athletic or academic scholarships to college is nicer.

"I'd much rather help a kid get an athletic or academic scholarship than a 'W'," said Bishop. "Character, discipline, commitment and integrity are most important to me."

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