Doves rate this time, roll to 4A crown

March 13, 1994|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,Contributing Writer

At the conclusion of last season's Class 4A state championship game, the Western players hung their heads and wept as the taunting chant of "overrated" rang throughout the arena.

The memory of that loss lingered in the minds of the Doves.

Yesterday, however, there were no taunts or tears for Western.

Just a title.

Junior forward Chanel Wright scored 30 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead second-ranked Western to a 61-48 victory over Montgomery County's Sherwood in the Class 4A state final at UMBC.

"It hurt when everyone kept saying we were overrated," said Wright, whose team lost to Old Mill, 59-35, in last year's title game. "But how could we be overrated if we made it to the championship game? Old Mill was just a good team. We had it in or minds that if we'd go back to the states, we'd know what to expect."

The state championship is the first for a Baltimore City girls team since the city joined the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association last season.

"I wanted to win this for my school and for all the great

basketball teams I've had in the '60s, '70s and '80s who never had an opportunity to play in the states," Western coach Breezy Bishop said. "It's been 30 years since I've been teaching. I never thought I'd see the day that I would be able to coach a team in the states."

The Doves (23-2) set the tone from the outset, using full-court man-to-man pressure to rattle Sherwood.

After the Warriors scored the game's first basket, Western went on a 13-1 run.

Sherwood (23-2), ranked fourth in the Washington area, regrouped and scored the next seven points to pull within 13-10, but that was as close as it would get.

The Doves did a good job collapsing inside on Sherwood's 6-foot-2 center Nikki Tibbs.

Tibbs, who came into the game averaging 11 points, was held to just six points and one field goal before fouling out.

Bishop, who was critical of her team's play in Thursday's 60-45 semifinal win over Oxon Hill, had nothing but praise for the Doves' performance yesterday.

"If there is one word to describe the team [yesterday], it would be marvelous," Bishop said. "I scolded them Thursday, but I amend that.

"Western High School is the school that reads. And [yesterday we read defenses very well and played a very intelligent game."

For Wright, especially, the game was one for the books -- the record book, specifically.

Wright entered the game five points shy of surpassing Dana Johnson (Tennessee) as Western's all-time scoring leader. She got the record by making a foul shot with 3:15 remaining in the first quarter and finished with 1,248 career points.

Western's unsung hero was junior guard Tesha Tinsley, who entered the game averaging 10.2 points, but scored 13 to go along with seven assists, six rebounds and three steals. She scored 14 in Thursday's semifinal.

After point guard Kimberly Smith went to the bench after picking up her third foul with 4:20 remaining in the second quarter, Bishop called on Tinsley, who was the shooting guard, to run the offense.

Meredith Pine (team-high 19 points) made two free throws with 5:40 left in the third quarter to pull the Warriors within 33-28.

Western then responded with a 10-3 run in which Wright scored six points and had two assists to push the Doves' lead to 12.

The Doves led, 47-34, after three quarters and were ahead by at least 11 the rest of the way.

The victory -- which the players dedicated to assistant coach Sue Furnary's mother, who died in December -- ended a two-year postseason jinx for the Doves, who were upset by Walbrook, 49-47, in the City-Wide Championship game in 1992.

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