Bigger Sherwood wears down Westminster for 71-51 win

March 05, 1994|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Sun Staff Writer

SANDY SPRING -- Westminster coach Bernie Koontz and his Owls did everything they could last night against top-seeded Sherwood, the Warriors were simply too big.

Meredith Pine (5-foot-11), Nicole Tibbs (6-2) and Kiesha Brooks (5-10) combined to score 51 points and grab 38 rebounds to lead the Sherwood to a 71-51 win over the Owls in a Class 4A West region semifinal game. Sherwood (21-1) will play host to Watkins Mill in the region championship tonight.

The Owls close out a solid season, which saw them win the Carroll County title and finish with a 15-7 mark.

Koontz and the Owls were forced to adjust all night long to try and stay with the taller Warriors.

He often went with his biggest possible lineup, inserting freshman forward Jill Ibex up front to go along with senior Julie Backof and junior Beth Lister. When he did, he sacrificed the floor leadership of senior point guard Lauren Zuskin.

It worked for a half, but Sherwood was simply too strong in the end and eventually wore the Owls down.

"You just have to play hard and go after it. We did it for a half and our kids didn't quit until the end. Despite the loss, we've taken a big step for our program," said Koontz.

"We put in our three post players to try and neutralize their big players and it worked for a while, but our girls just got too tired."

Sherwood scored the first two baskets of the second quarter to take a 19 -7 lead before the Owls rallied with a 7-0 run midway through the quarter to close within 25-22. Junior Cassandra Conklin, who moved to shooting guard from he usual forward spot, had four in the run and and finished with 13, sharing team-high honors with Backof.

The Warriors then closed out the half with the last five points to take a 30-22 lead, continually converting second and third chances into easy baskets.

"We knew we'd have trouble with their size, they really hurt us on the boards," Koontz said.

"Size is hard to compensate. But we kept in it and gave ourselves a shot at halftime. Things just didn't go our way, but we never quit."

Sherwood dominated the second half, jumping out to a 40-24 lead midway through the third quarter after guard Takisha Williams came up with a steal and layup. Backof, who finished with 11 rebounds, scored on a three-point play to make it 40-29 with 4:24 left in the third, but that's all the closer the Owls would get.

Pine (32 points, 14 rebounds)dominated the fourth, scoring the Warriors first eight points and finishing with 16 in the quarter.

The loss doesn't tarnish a fine season for the Owls, who started five new players. Few expected them to stay with South Carroll in the chase for the county title, but the Owls did so with an overtime win against the Cavs to finish a perfect 5-0 in county play.

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