Easton brings down Joppatowne, 66-50

March 13, 1994|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,Sun Staff Writer

Joppatowne's bid to become the first girls state champion from Harford County went down the drain during the first four minutes of the third quarter in last night's Class 1A final against Easton at UMBC.

From a 26-26 tie 30 seconds after the half, Easton ran off 11 straight points while Joppatowne's Santae Boyd was going 0-for-7 from the field and her teammates were contributing three turnovers.

Seniors Kelley Gibson and Tamara Coursey, the twin terrors of the Eastern Shore team, accounted for nine of the 11 points, and Easton (25-1) went on to successfully defend its state crown with a 66-50 victory.

Gibson is a 5-foot-11 forward able to score inside and out, and Coursey is a 5-6 guard who can penetrate and whose scoring abilities take some of the pressure off Gibson.

Against the Mariners (18-4), Coursey stepped up, hitting 12 of 19 from the field and ending with a game-high 27 points. Gibson, although just 8 for 33 from the field, always seemed to get the big basket when her side needed it most. Ten of her 16 rebounds came at the offensive end.

"We knew Gibson was an excellent ballhandler and with her leaping and shooting abilities, she could go right up over the top of our guards," Joppatowne's second-year coach Lynette Shelley said.

"We tried a 1-1-3 zone, and then she'd go down low, and we couldn't be everywhere. Eventually, we went to our basic zone and tried to be aggressive in it.

"They didn't let us get set up in a half-court offense and we had too many turnovers (17).

"I told them not to overplay Gibson at the expense of the others, but they got frustrated -- she was hitting inside and outside -- and they'd go for her, leaving Coursey open."

Easton coach Tom Callahan credited his team's defense and balance.

"The difference was we put pressure on them and when they had to make the baskets, they weren't making them.

"You hear about Kelley because she always gets big numbers but we couldn't have won the games we needed to get here without being balanced.

"When they key on Kelley, she feeds the ball down low to the forwards. The same thing happened here. We pulled Kelley out and let her shoot more. That spread the defense and we started working the ball down to the forwards."

Joppatowne, which had lost only its opener to John Carroll and twice to Class 2A State semifinalist Fallston prior to last night, hit six of its first nine shots to open its widest lead of the game at 12-4.

But Gibson and Coursey, scoring all but four of the Warriors' DTC first-half points, brought them back to a 26-25 lead.

Barnes hit a free throw to tie it, but by the time Joppatowne scored again on another Barnes foul shot, it was 37-27.

The margin was not to dip below 10 the rest of the way.

For the game, Easton was 25-for-63, and Joppatowne 19-for-62, and the winners won the rebound battle, 48-38, including 28-12 at the offensive end.

Boyd, despite not having a good shooting night, still finished with a team-high 19 points, followed by Barnes, who had 15 points and 14 rebounds.

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