Hammond's 25 carry Arundel past Largo Senior gets 22 rebounds, 12 blocks in 68-64 victory

March 08, 1996|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

With one performance yesterday, high school All-Americ Chavonne Hammond wiped out any doubts about her ability to play major Division I college basketball at Vanderbilt.

Hammond carried the sputtering Arundel girls basketball team to a 68-64 victory over Largo in a state Class 4A semifinal at UMBC.

Once Largo proved it was as quick as top-ranked Arundel and threatened to pull off a major upset, Hammond played as if she refused to lose and see her dreams of the school's first state title wiped out.

Hammond did almost everything for the Wildcats (26-2) in the final one minute and 42 seconds of the game, after Largo (23-3) tied the score at 64 on Kimberly Wright's layup.

Hammond had three rebounds, one steal, one assist and got the ball in the hands of the right people down the stretch, as Arundel scored on two free throws by Jen Mottar for a 66-64 lead with 27 seconds left and a layup by LaChelle McHenry with two seconds remaining to wrap up the win.

Hammond had 25 points, 22 rebounds, 12 blocks, six assists and five steals in what Arundel coach Lee Rogers said was easily the best performance of the season by the 6-foot senior.

"Chavonne wants [a state title]. She's a senior whose had a lot of pressure on her from the media and had to live up to her advance billing of an All-America," said Rogers. "I don't think there are any more questions about her."

Arundel will meet Sherwood tomorrow at 3 p.m. at UMBC for the state girls 4A championship.

But that game seemed a long time away for Hammond and her teammates, who entered the Largo game as heavy favorites.

They all wanted to relish the Largo victory for a few hours anyway and talk about Hammond, who has received a full scholarship to play at Vanderbilt.

"I've never seen Chavonne play this way," said Mottar, who was Hammond's primary accomplice in the victory with 21 points, 14 rebounds, three steals and three assists. "She even made her free throws today."

Hammond hit nine of 12 from the line and said she did it with the help of a lot of prayers and concentration.

"I worked on free-throw shooting in practice and went home last night and prayed for Jesus to help me," said Hammond. "I then went out and played as hard as I could because I know any game could be my last one now."

Hammond certainly accomplished her goal, leaving Largo coach Robert Blair full of praise for the Arundel All-America.

"That victory was because of Hammond," said Blair. "She was the difference. She made all the big shots, blocked so many shots I couldn't keep up with them, and was unbelievable. We knew we couldn't stop her so we wanted to stop everybody else and let her have her 30."

Sherwood 62, Perry Hall 38: Keisha Brooks scored 18, Meredith Pine added 17 and Katie O'Brien had 15 as Montgomery County's Sherwood (24-1) routed Perry Hall (12-8) in the other Class 4A semifinal at UMBC.

Perry Hall trailed 26-25 early in the third quarter, but Sherwood went on a 12-0 run during a 10-minute, 29-second span and later had a 29-2 run that produced a 55-27 lead in the fourth quarter.

During the 10: 29 span, Perry Hall went 0-for-14 from the field and committed 12 turnovers.

Perry Hall initially had trouble handling Sherwood's full-court pressure. The Gators turned the ball over on their first four possessions and did not get off a shot for the first 2: 18.

Alyssa Phoebus led Perry Hall with 16 points.

Pub Date: 3/08/96

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