Western defeats L. Clifton

March 05, 1994|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,Contributing Writer

All-Metro forward/guard guard Chanel Wright has been the catalyst to much of Western's success this season.

Last night, the Doves proved they could win a big game with Wright spending half of the contest on the bench.

Without Wright, who missed all of the second and third quarters with an eye injury, the top-seeded and second-ranked Doves defeated second-seed and No. 5 Lake Clifton, 67-47, in the Class 4A North Region final at Western.

Western (21-2), which lost to Old Mill, 59-35, in last season's Class 4A state championship game, returns to the Class 4A state semifinals on Thursday at UMBC against an opponent to be determined.

Wright, who entered the game averaging 21.7 points and 9.2 rebounds, took a fingernail in her right eye while going for a rebound with 30 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Wright, whose eyelid was lacerated, said her vision was not affected. She returned at the start of the fourth quarter and finished with 11 points.

After the game, she was taken to Francis Scott Key Medical Center to be examined.

In Wright's absence, junior guard Kimberly Smith asserted herself.

Smith, who had a triple double in Thursday's 77-49 win over Walbrook, scored a game-high 22 points and made four three-pointers.

"Kimberly showed a lot of leadership and really pulled the team together," Western coach Breezy Bishop said. "Her shooting ability has really come on strong, especially from outside."

Lake Clifton (17-3), whose only losses this season were to Western, was within 42-35 entering the fourth quarter.

It was at that point, however, that the Doves stepped up their man-to-man defense and ran away from the Lakers.

Western held Lake Clifton scoreless on its first eight possessions of the period, scoring 10 straight points and 15 of 17 to take a 57-37 lead with 4:39 remaining.

The Doves led by at least 18 the rest of the way.

"It's been a long season and we weren't really up for this game like I thought we should have been," Lake Clifton coach James Monroe said.

It was quite a contrast to the last meeting between the two teams, a 60-59 Western victory on Feb. 22.

"I think we wanted it more this time," Bishop said. "The team was motivated after Chanel got hurt."

Celena Falline scored 17 to lead the Lakers, who were again without 6-foot-5 center Natisha Ferguson.

Ferguson, who was on the bench in street clothes, was averaging 19.6 points and 17.5 rebounds before having a benign brain tumor removed on Feb. 14.

Western ended the second quarter on a 15-4 run to take a 29-16 halftime lead. Lake Clifton had rallied from an early 12-4 deficit to pull within 14-12 with 5:58 left in the second quarter.

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