Linganore finishes unbeaten season with 61-54 title win over Hammond Consuegra (29) scores 12 in 4th to spark Lancers

Girls basketball

March 10, 1996|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Hammond played like a champion yesterday in its 2A state title game against Linganore at UMBC.

The Golden Bears just didn't win.

Linganore junior Cara Consuegra scored 29, including 12 of her team's 14 fourth-quarter points, and the Lancers (25-0) completed an undefeated season with a 61-54 victory.

The Lancers' closest margin of victory until yesterday was 15 points. But two-time defending state champion Hammond, playing in its fifth straight 2A final, rallied from a 15-point third-quarter deficit and twice had an opportunity to take the lead in the fourth period.

"I'm disappointed," said Hammond coach Joe Russo, who was given a technical foul late in the third quarter that cost his team two points. "We wanted to win, not just play a good game. We thought we could win, and we almost did. We gave it everything we had."

The 11th-ranked Golden Bears (20-8) got strong performances from senior Kellye Townsend (19 points, 13 rebounds), senior Brandy Peaker (11 points) and junior Nichole Owe (six points, seven rebounds).

Rene Hines, who had 29 points in Hammond's semifinal win Friday, battled foul trouble and a twisted ankle that sidelined her most of the third quarter and finished with eight points. Hines fouled out with 2: 51 remaining and ended 1-for-11 from the field.

Hammond couldn't match Linganore's speed. It went with a zone defense throughout and slowed the pace when possible. It paid off, as the Lancers made only 23 of 75 field goal attempts.

"Teams have played zone against us, but they didn't have three six-footers," said Linganore coach Brian Matthews. "That made a big difference. Our game plan was to penetrate and we didn't do that until the end."

Consuegra, a 5-foot-8 forward who led her team in rebounds (11) and steals (three), began driving the lane at the end, and scored the Lancers' last eight points, six from the line.

"She's very good," said Russo, whose team played the semifinal and final without guard Tina Wilmer, who reinjured her knee Wednesday in practice. "She's the best all-around player we've faced this year."

Consuegra's steal and layup gave Linganore a 49-39 lead with 7: 38 to go. But Hammond went on a 12-4 spurt, led by Townsend's six points, to pull within 53-51 with 4: 05 remaining.

After Linganore missed four shots, Hines went to the line for two free throws with 3: 07 left. She made only the first.

Each team exchanged turnovers before Hines committed her fifth foul as Consuegra drove the middle with 2: 51 left. Consuegra missed the one-and-one free throw, but Julie Moraz's pass to Townsend was stolen by Christy Polansky.

A basket by Consuegra made it 55-52, but two Katie McCartney free throws made it a one-point game with 1: 41 left.

Consuegra's two free throws gave Linganore a 57-54 advantage, and Hammond missed its last three shots of the game. In fact, the Golden Bears did not make a basket in the final four minutes.

"We played our hardest," Townsend said, "but down the stretch, they hit their shots and we didn't."

Not having Hines for most of the third quarter, and especially at the end of the game, hurt Hammond, and no one was more frustrated than the 6-foot-1 junior.

"I know I got off to a slow start," said Hines, the team's leading scorer (18 ppg). "I wanted to play so bad in the second half, then I hurt my ankle [18 seconds into the third quarter] and lost all the confidence I had.

"Sitting on the bench at the end was really hard. I felt like I let my teammates down when I fouled out. It was such a stupid foul."

Said Russo: "They had Consuegra and she won it for them at the end. It was hard for us at the end not to have that one-two [Hines-Townsend] punch."

Hammond trailed by 15 when Hines was injured in the third quarter. When she returned with 1: 14 left in the period, the Golden Bears trailed by 13.

Hammond had a nice run in the third quarter, led by Townsend. Trailing 40-25, Townsend scored seven of Hammond's nine points as the Golden Bears cut their deficit to 40-34 with 1: 44 left.

The Lancers responded with seven straight points, the last two on free throws awarded Linganore on Russo's technical foul. Hammond scored five straight to end the quarter and trailed, 47-39.

The Golden Bears came very close to winning their fourth state title in five years. The fact that they didn't doesn't diminish their excellent effort against a very good Linganore team. Yesterday, the Golden Bears played like champions.

Pub Date: 3/10/96

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