Hammond outclasses North Caroline, 64-28 Golden Bears get chance to win 3rd straight 2A title

March 09, 1996|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Hammond's basketball team will play in its fifth straight Class 2A state championship game today at 1 p.m. against unbeaten Linganore.

The Golden Bears will have to play their best game of the season to win. But if yesterday's 64-28 semifinal victory over North Caroline at UMBC is any indication, Hammond might be ready to do just that.

"It doesn't matter what you do early in the season, it's the last games that count," said Hammond coach Joe Russo, whose team has won three of the last four state titles, including the past two. "It's really satisfying to see the girls mature and play together at the right time."

Linganore (24-0) was impressive in routing No. 4 Catonsville, 68-43, behind 27 points, 12 rebounds, nine steals and six assists from junior Cara Consuegra. At least one Hammond player is looking forward to playing the quick and talented Lancers.

"I want to play Linganore," said Hammond's Rene Hines, who scored 29 points against North Caroline (23-3). "I have a friend on that team."

And the friend is Consuegra. The two players, both juniors, played together two years ago on the Chesapeake Waves. Hammond, which has won six straight after scoring just 22 points in a 12-point loss to Atholton, started off quickly against the Bulldogs. The 11th-ranked Golden Bears controlled the boards and Hines had the hot hand, scoring 11 first-quarter points for a 15-6 Hammond lead.

"She set the tone for the game," said Hammond point guard Brandy Peaker.

"We realized we had a go-to person if we needed to."

Said Hines, who has averaged 22 points in the six wins: "I was just pumped to play. I just wanted to go out and play my best."

Hammond (20-7) led, 26-16, at halftime, despite not scoring for the last 3: 24 of the second quarter. Hines had 18 points and nine rebounds.

"She was in the flow of the game. She was relaxed and wasn't pushing herself," Russo said. "She was really focused."

North Caroline, which defeated No. 12 Poly by four in the region playoffs, looked tentative at the start and it got worse in the third quarter. The Bulldogs missed all eight shots, committed seven turnovers and were outscored, 18-0, in the period.

HTC "They came out flat [in the third quarter], like the game was over," Russo said.

The Bulldogs not only shot poorly in the second half, they hardly played defense. Hammond, which out-rebound the Bulldogs, 62-27, got many second and third shots. "They didn't play any defense," Hines said. "They were really soft inside, and that's what really helped us."

North Caroline came into the game with two high scorers, Shantwan Dowell (19-point average) and Kiana Lewis (18). They finished a combined six for 28 from the field, with Dowell scoring eight points and Lewis seven.

"We were in a difficult situation," said North Caroline coach Jackie Pinckens, who admitted her team was nervous at the start. "We couldn't adjust to Hammond's more physical style of play."

Hammond's Kellye Townsend scored 11 of her 15 points in the second half and had 13 rebounds. Katie McCartney came off the bench to score eight points, and Nicole Owe had six points and 13 rebounds.

Many Hammond players credited their fast start against North Caroline to their experience in the state playoffs.

"We came out with a lot of confidence because we've been here before," said Peaker. "We played Hammond basketball. Defensively, we never let down. We ran our offense well, looking inside for Kellye and Rene." HAMMOND -- Hines 29, Owe 6, Moraz 2, Townsend 15, McCartney 8, Workman 3, Ferreira 1. Totals 25 11-13 64.

NORTH CAROLINE -- Turner 4, Dowell 8, Seward 1, Lewis 7, M. Rich 6, S. Rich 2. Totals 12 3-8 28.

Halftime: Hammond 26-16.

Pub Date: 3/09/96

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