Poor free-throw shooting sinks Southern-AA in 2A East finale Bulldogs fall, 39-35, to North Caroline

Girls basketball

March 02, 1996|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Linda Kilpatrick knows what it takes to get to the final four. The Southern coach has won five state titles and been to the state tournament an Anne Arundel County girls record nine times in 19 years, the last trip in 1989.

Kilpatrick and the Bulldogs just missed another trip last night in a 39-35 loss to North Caroline of the Eastern Shore in the 2A East region final.

"When you get to this point, you need more luck than skill," said Kilpatrick, who had only two seniors on this year's team.

"And to be honest with you, I didn't think we would get this far, but this is a tough young group. With the new county divisions this year it meant playing Arundel, Annapolis and Severna Park, not once but twice [each]. But I told them it would pay off at the end."

After going 20-for-27 from the line in Wednesday's 54-43 semifinal victory over South River, Southern (9-16) sank only four of 17 free throws last night. The Bulldogs missed seven in a row in the last four minutes and were one-for-nine in the final period.

It didn't help that their field goal shooting was even worse. Southern landed only 15 of 74 shots for 20 percent from the floor.

North Caroline shot 28 percent (13-for-46) from the floor and hit 13 of 25 free-throw attempts. Twenty turnovers by each team never allowed either team to get up by more than four points.

Southern guards Jessica Downes (14 points) and Lindsey Lowman (six points) led with 17 and 11 rebounds, respectively.

"We couldn't have shot any better the night before, and we've been an up-and-down free-throw shooting team all year," said Kilpatrick.

North Caroline (23-2), the Bayside Conference Champion, advances to Friday's 3 p.m. semifinal at UMBC against South Region champion Hammond. It will be the Eastern shore team's third trip (last in 1991) to the final four under coach Jackie Pinkens and the fourth overall.

"We were prepared for a close game and Kiana steps up in the close games," said Pinkens.

Kiana Lewis had 17 points, 10 coming in the final period. The North Caroline senior was 4-for-4 from the line and hit three field goals down the stretch.

Lewis' second pair from the line gave her team a 33-29 lead with 4:15 left, but the game's only three by Alicia Groveston (seven points, seven boards) cut it to 33-32.

Two more times Lewis would give North Caroline three-point leads at 35-32 and 37-34, and Lashya Roberts' only point of the game from the line made it a 38-34 game with 51 seconds left.

Southern's frustration at the line climaxed the final 32 seconds when Lowman sank the only free throw in the team's final six attempts, coming with 10 seconds on the clock to cut it to 38-35.

North Caroline's Shantwan Dowell prevented the Bulldogs from getting additional offensive opportunities from the floor with seven of her 12 defensive rebounds in the waning moments.

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