Hammond runs past Fairmont Heights 2A SOUTH GIRLS

March 03, 1995|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Sun Staff Writer

Hammond's Tameka Harrison and Tiki Nicholson have never lost in the regional playoffs and they do not plan to start now.

The senior guards led a furious man-to-man defense last night that sparked the Golden Bears to an early 30-6 lead. That was more than enough to carry Hammond to a 69-51 victory over Fairmont Heights in a Class 2A South region semifinal.

"We just want to go out the way we came in, with the [state] championship," said Harrison, who along with Nicholson, has been part of three regional titles, two Class 2A state titles and two Howard County titles in four years. "There's pressure there, but it's not really that much, because we have other people on our team who can come through."

Last night, four Golden Bears scored in double figures -- Rene Hines, 16; Harrison and Kellye Towsend, 15 each; and Nicholson, 13.

The No. 2-ranked and top-seeded Bears (20-3) will defend their regional title tomorrow at 7 p.m. when they play host to second-seeded Chopticon, a 62-46 winner over Potomac last night.

Last night, the Bears smothered Fairmont Heights (12-11) forcing one turnover for each of the first 10 minutes. That kind of defense let the Bears' fast-break right by the visitors time after time.

"Our intensity was real high," said Hammond coach Joe Russo. "We planned to go right after them and see if they could take good man-to-man defense and it seemed like we just threw them out of their game."

After a 4-4 tie just past the two-minute mark, Fairmont Heights did not score again until a minute into the second quarter. Soon after that, the Bears took their biggest lead of the half, 30-6, with 5:38 left before halftime.

The Bears hit from the outside but found even more openings in the middle of Fairmont Heights' 1-2-2 zone. The Bears hit 13 of their first 24 shots and dominated the boards as 6-1 forward Rene Hines scored 10 in the first 10 minutes. Harrison and Nicholson added seven points each in the opening run.

"We thought we could pack it in on the zone," said Fairmont Heights coach Rudy Saunders, "but they were able to work it on the perimeter to the back side real well. That's the quickest we've seen any team be able to do that."

Fairmont Heights adjusted a bit by the middle of the second half and narrowed the margin to 35-19, but the Bears bolted to a 51-24 lead midway through the third quarter. Their biggest lead came at 68-39 late in the fourth.

As Russo went more and more to his bench, Fairmont Heights scored 12 in the final 2:52 against only Tina Wilmer's free throw bringing the final margin to 18.

To Saunders, whose fourth-seeded Prince George's team eliminated Glenelg, 53-52, Tuesday, Hammond's playoff experience was a big edge for the home team.

"We haven't been here before and they have and that made the difference," said Saunders, who had no seniors on his roster.

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