Western advances to final

March 11, 1994|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,Contributing Writer

The game wasn't pretty.

And Western coach Breezy Bishop wasn't pleased.

"If we play this way on Saturday, we will not win," Bishop said. "Sherwood will run us out of the gym.

It may have been a less-than sterling performance, but the second-ranked Doves played well enough to defeat Prince George's County's Oxon Hill, 60-45, in a Class 4A state semifinal at UMBC yesterday.

The Doves (22-2), who lost to Old Mill in last season's state final, will attempt to win their first state title against Sherwood tomorrow at 3 p.m. Sherwood beat Annapolis, 62-55, yesterday.

"Sherwood is very disciplined, and my team is not," Bishop said.

Specifically, Bishop was unhappy about her team "trying to force things" on offense and some lackadaisical stretches on defense.

The final score was not indicative of how close the game was. Every time Oxon Hill (17-4) challenged, however, Western responded.

After trailing by 11 points in the second quarter and 10 points in the third, the Clippers rallied to pull within 43-40 with 6:08 remaining.

The Doves ended the game on a 10-0 run, however, and scored 13 of the final 15 points.

Western's fourth-quarter spurt was sparked by defensive quickness.

The Doves, who beat Oxon Hill, 50-49, in the state semifinals last season, had played most of the game in a zone before switching to a man-to-man to start the fourth quarter.

"When we play zone, we have a tendency to stand around and wait for things," Bishop said. "In the fourth quarter, I said, 'Let's come out of the zone and play man.' And I think that was the key to the game."

Oxon Hill scored its last points on a basket by Noni Smith off a pass from Kim McCray (game-high 21 points) with 2:09 left to make it 50-45.

Tesha Tinsley (14 points) responded with a basket for the Doves, then stole the inbounds pass and scored again to stretch Western's lead to nine with 1:50 to go.

From there, Western hit six of eight free throws to secure the win.

Though Bishop focused on her team's somewhat sloppy play, the Doves' transition game often looked like a clinic on crisp passing. Junior point guard Kimberly Smith (eight points) led the way with nine assists.

Junior forward Chanel Wright turned in another all-around performance with 20 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and four steals.

Wright, who was wearing goggles as a precautionary measure after suffering a lacerated eyelid in Friday's regional final against Lake Clifton, scored 14 points in the second half after a slow start.

"I had to get used to playing with the goggles," Wright said. "I was a little self-conscious about them, but I knew this was a big game and I'd have to ignore it and play hard."

Center Danielle Davis (eight points, seven rebounds) and forward Felicia Burroughs (eight points, six rebounds) also gave the Doves a lift.

"All the pressure is always built around me and [Smith], but our teammates stepped up," Wright said.

Western made only one of its first shots and trailed 6-2. The Doves regrouped and scored the next 12 points to take a 14-7 lead after the first quarter.

After Oxon Hill pulled within 18-15, the Doves' transition game turned into high gear as they reeled off eight straight points.

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