Ward scores 30, carries Arundel to 81-69 victory

March 02, 1994|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Sun Staff Writer

Sooner or later, Arundel coach Gerald Moore figured, Northern-Calvert would have to cool off.

It happened soon enough to allow his team to extend its season at least one more game.

Fourth-seeded Arundel rode the outstanding all-around performance of junior guard Bakari Ward and a rejuvenated defensive effort in the second half to a 81-69 victory over the fifth-seeded Patriots in the Class 4A East Region playoffs.

Ward, a transfer from Severna Park, had 30 points, eight rebounds, five steals and three assists.

"Bakari has stepped up into his own," said Moore, who won his first playoff game in five years at Arundel. "He could always play defense, and he's just an intelligent player. He understands what it takes to win deep down in his heart."

Senior Sean Soyars had 25 points for the Wildcats (16-7), who advance to tomorrow night's semifinals at top-seeded Annapolis. The Panthers have defeated Arundel twice.

Arundel took a 43-42 lead on a three-pointer by Soyars with 4:10 left in the third quarter. The margin grew to five points at the end of the quarter and 10 early in the fourth, but Northern battled back to within one, 60-59, with 4:17 remaining.

That's when Ward again took charge, scoring on a drive and making a steal. Soyars took a pass from Hedrick and scored inside, Daryl Cooper made two free throws, Soyars hit twice from the line and Arundel was in the midst of a 12-0 run.

Earlier in the week, Moore said it was "defense that wins championships," but the Wildcats didn't have enough in the first half. Northern (16-6) went 15-for-28 from the field, either scoring in the lane or hitting the uncontested three-pointer. That left Arundel behind, 35-32, heading into the third quarter.

"The way we were going to get back in the game was to make them stop shooting like that," said Moore, whose team is ranked No. 19 in the metro area and owns a four-game winning streak. "We started contesting them in the second half and things just turned around."

Said Soyars, who scored 18 of his points in the second half: "We knew we had to go to the boards hard be cause that was the problem in the first half. They got a lot of second shots and open shots. We buckled down defensively."

The Patriots wound up 28-for-62 from the field, compared to Arundel's 23-for-47. The Wildcats made 30 of 43 free throws.

One challenge down, another to go. Will the Wildcats figure out a way to get past Annapolis?

"The road to [Cole Field House] always goes through Naptown," Moore said. "It's going to be a tough challenge, but if we want to be champions we have to go through teams like that. We'll be ready."

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