Western weathers Oxon Hill

March 10, 1995|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,Contributing Writer

There's something about Oxon Hill and the state semifinals that seems to bring out the worst in Western.

For the third consecutive season, the top-ranked Doves and Oxon Hill met in the Class 4A state semifinals.

And, as it did the previous two years, Western overcame a sloppy performance to advance to the championship game.

All-American senior forward Chanel Wright scored 22 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead the defending Class 4A state champion Doves to a 62-49 victory over the fourth-seeded Clippers of Prince George's County yesterday at UMBC.

The Doves (25-0), winners of 32 straight games, will meet second-seeded and third-ranked Arundel, a 40-32 winner over third-seeded Montgomery Blair, in the title game tomorrow at 3 p.m.

Senior guards Kimberly Smith and Tesha Tinsley added 14 and 11 points, respectively, for the Doves.

Western had difficulty getting in sync on offense and its defensive effort was inconsistent.

"We weren't patient on offense," Western coach Breezy Bishop said. "We were trying to force things and when we do that we keep teams in the game.

"Defensively, we weren't there. We picked up a lot of fouls by reaching in and we were just standing around."

The Doves had beaten Oxon Hill, 60-45, last season and edged the Clippers, 50-49, in 1993.

"We had the big-dance jitters, which we normally have," Bishop said. "Oxon Hill is just as quick as we are, but we should be accustomed to it. I don't know why we freak out when we play Oxon Hill."

Despite all that, the Doves (11-for-34 from the field in the first half) ended the second quarter on a 10-0 run to take a 32-21 halftime lead and were never seriously threatened in the second half.

Oxon Hill (19-6) struggled offensively. The Clippers were just 7-for-24 from the field in the first half and their two leading scorers -- junior guards Kim McCray and Lawanda Lumpkin -- had subpar games.

McCray (20.1 ppg) was held to 11 points and Lumpkin (17.4 ppg) scored just six.

The Doves blew the game open with a 13-4 run at the start of the third quarter to take a 45-25 advantage. Wright scored 10 in the spurt.

Wright, normally a wing, gave the Doves a lift inside in the second half after Western's two 6-foot-2 seniors -- Danielle Davis and Lisa Jackson -- got in foul trouble.

"We didn't play them man-to-man because I figured we'd spend most of the time fouling," Bishop said. "So we played a matchup zone and my big people were still in foul trouble. I hate to put Chanel inside but I had to take some of the pressure off Lisa and Danielle."

Western took its biggest lead at 60-35 on a basket by Janell Burgess with 4:41 remaining in the game.

It turned out to be Western's closest game since a 56-47 victory over Altoona (Pa.) on Dec. 29. The Doves have outscored their opposition by an average margin of 39 points.

"It wasn't one of our better ganes, but I'm proud of my team," Bishop said. "We got to the big dance again."

* Arundel 40, Montgomery Blair 32: No. 3-ranked and second-seeded Arundel wavered some in the third quarter, then regrouped to defeat third-seeded Montgomery Blair (22-3) and remain undefeated going into tomorrow's 3 p.m. final at UMBC.

nTC Arundel (25-0) is making its first appearance in the state playoffs.

Only one player, junior forward Jen Mottar (10 points), scored in double figures for the Wildcats, but there were other contributors. Junior Shannon Noon and sophomore LaChelle McHenry each had eight points. Junior Chavonne Hammond was limited to seven points, almost 10 below her season's average, but she pulled down 18 rebounds and blocked seven shots.

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