Act one of what Arundel girls coach Lee Rogers hopes will be another trip to the Class 4A state final opened last night in Gambrills.
Senior center Chavonne Hammond cracked the 1,000-career point mark as top-ranked Arundel rolled to an 84-50 triumph over No. 9 Severna Park in the 4A East Region first round. The Wildcats travel to Calvert of Calvert County for a 7 p.m. quarterfinal tomorrow.
"We were focused on getting there [the final] last year, but this year we are focused on winning the state championship," said Rogers, whose Wildcats (22-2) won 25 in a row before losing the state final to Western.
"This group has worked very hard to get where they are and we are peaking at the right time."
The 6-foot Hammond symbolizes the "hard work" Rogers was talking about. Starting since her sophomore year, Hammond now has a school-record 1,002 points and is the first female Wildcat to crack the milestone.
Hammond scored 19 last night, grabbed 10 rebounds, had eight steals and blocked five shots.
"Chavonne doesn't worry about her individual numbers; wins are what count to her," said Rogers. "She probably doesn't even know she hit a thousand tonight."
Hammond was one of four Wildcats in double digits. Sophomore guard Sherice Proctor ignited the onslaught, scoring 10 of her 17 points in the first period.
Arundel's textbook pressure defense, buoyed by Proctor and freshman guard Megan Rollins (eight points), forced 10 turnovers in the final 4:30 of the first period and the rout was on.
"We try to take the air out of the other team right away," said Rogers, whose team is averaging over 70 points a game while yielding only 33.
Senior forward Jen Mottar (12 boards), who Rogers calls "our quiet leader and probably the most under-rated player in the county," and sophomore guard Erin Wilmer were the other two Wildcats in double figures with 13 and 10 points, respectively.
Hammond and Mottar scored seven points each in the second period as the Wildcats put the Falcons (15-8) away for a third straight time this season.
A 37-19 deficit at the break was too much for the Falcons to overcome. It was the seventh consecutive Arundel win over Severna Park dating back to 1994.
The Wildcat lead got as high as 37 points (82-45) in the final period that took nearly 40 minutes to play. It took 7:39 to play the last minute as the Wildcat parade to the foul line was relentless.
Arundel sank 34 of 57 free-throw attempts for the game.
Severna Park's 6-foot-2 center, Jennifer Holmes, who is headed to Vanderbilt with her good friend Hammond, led the Falcons with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
"My kids played as hard as they're capable of playing, but Arundel is very, very athletic," said Severna Park coach Kevin McGrath.