No. 1 Arundel sinks Meade's upset hopes, takes 4A regional title Wildcats extend victory streak to 21

Girls basketball

March 02, 1996|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

A relentless Arundel basketball team squashed Meade's impossible dream, 67-36, last night and roared into the state Class 4A semifinals with some impressive credentials.

The top-ranked Wildcats have won 21 straight games and crushed four 4A East Region foes by a total score of 292-173 on the way to the girls final four.

Arundel (25-2) will meet the winner of tonight's Largo-Roosevelt South Region final Thursday at 3 p.m. in the Class 4A semis at UMBC.

The Wildcats ran into a hornets' nest for the first 12 minutes of the game at Meade High last night as the Mustangs (5-19) put up a tough fight and trailed only 19-15 with 4:32 left in the first half.

"After a great practice Thursday I really believed our kids could win this game," said Meade coach Phil Popielski.

"It was our best practice of the season and the first time the kids ever wanted to keep going when I was ready to stop."

But Arundel took over the game midway through the second quarter with its athletic ability and quickness and outscored Meade, 34-10, over the next 12 minutes for a 53-25 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Meade, which forfeited 11 wins this season because of an ineligible player, was also hurt by early foul trouble as the Mustangs tried to stop the fast-breaking Wildcats.

Tanya Green and Lindsay Meyer each had three fouls at half-time for Meade and 5-foot-11 center Shalisha Johnson quickly joined them in foul trouble when she collected her third early in the third quarter.

Johnson would eventually foul out early in the fourth quarter.

Seniors Chavonne Hammond and Jen Mottar led the Arundel charge with outstanding all-around performances.

Hammond (19 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, four steals, two blocks) was just being Hammond, slashing to the basket and drawing fouls and working hard at both ends of the floor.

For Mottar, it was a vintage performance (17 points, 10 rebounds, four steals, one block) as she continued to play in the shadow of Hammond.

"I think conditioning was the difference for us," said Arundel coach Lee Rogers. "They came out well prepared and were ready to handle our press but we just wore them down."

Said Hammond: "We weren't mentally into the game at the start because we didn't expect them to be playing like this."

Hammond hit only five of 13 from the free-throw line and said, "I was thinking too much."

Said Mottar: "We really had to turn on the defense to pull away from them. It was exciting to win this one and go to the states again."

Arundel finished second to Western last year in the state 4A championships.

Meyer led Meade with 10 points, including two three-pointers in the first half to keep the home team in the game.

"We had them starting to look at each other and wondering what was going on in the first half," said Popielski.

"Our kids adjusted well to what Arundel threw at us but any chance we had to win was gone when we got in all the foul trouble."

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