Western recaptures city title in style, 79-56 Unseated last year, Doves get 15th crown in 20 years by routing Northwestern

Girls basketball

February 27, 1997|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Western is back on top in Baltimore City.

The No. 13 Doves reclaimed the city championship last night with a 79-56 victory at Northwestern.

After losing last year's title to next-door neighbor Poly, the Doves were determined to get the title back. Their victory gave Western and coach Breezy Bishop 15 city titles in the last 20 years.

"This really means a lot to me," said Doves senior Marion Moore, "because it's my last year and because we lost last year -- and that was a big upset for the team. Our goal was to step up our game and play to the best of our ability."

The Doves (20-3) did just that. They shot 41 percent from the floor and in the first four minutes, ran up a nine-point lead that just kept growing.

Midway through the second quarter, the Doves boosted their lead to 37-17 on Moore's terrific spin move for a layup. The Wildcats never got closer than 13.

The Doves' full-court press sparked the breakaway, and their offense was hot, inside and out.

Western's depth wore down the Wildcats; nine Doves scored. Moore led the way with 25 points and 10 rebounds; Latia Few added 15 and Tyesha McMillion and Crystal Fallin, 14 each.

For Bishop, this title was especially sweet because the Doves roster includes 10 underclassmen who had to recover from a 1995-1996 season that did not live up to Western standards.

"Now they can hold their heads up," said Bishop. "They've set their names in history, along with the other 15 teams that have won city championships.

"They set all kinds of records last year -- the longest losing streak and not making it to the [state] final four -- records that they couldn't hold their heads up about. This win allows them to establish their own identity."

The Wildcats (16-4) lost a regular-season meeting with Western, 74-37, by trying to run with the Doves. This time, they came out in a patient offense, but it didn't last.

"We missed a couple baskets, and all the sudden, we decide we have to run," said Wildcats coach Dwayne Burroughs. "We don't have the bench to go full speed with them. We had planned on slowing it down, which we did the first couple of minutes and then we started running -- and it got out of hand."

The Wildcats lost their offensive rhythm and didn't get it back until a nine-point run in the fourth quarter. That cut the lead to 70-54 with 3: 02 left.

Northwestern shot well, hitting 43 percent from the floor but took 17 fewer shots than the Doves.

In one 14-minute span, Melita Dennis scored every Wildcats point. She drove the lane and hit short jumpers to score 22 of her 34 points, but no one else was involved in the offense.

"I just wasn't looking up trying to pass the ball," said point guard Dennis. "When we're under pressure, we just take it upon ourselves to do our own thing."

It also did not help the Wildcats to be without 5-foot-8 forward Nicole Eades, who averages 15.6 points and 8.5 rebounds. Burroughs said there was a fire at Eades' house last week, and although no one was injured, he hasn't seen her since.

The Wildcats could get yet another shot at the Doves in the regional playoffs that begin tomorrow. If both teams advance through the first three rounds, they would meet in the Class 4A North final next week.

"We played a very good game compared to the first time we played them," said Wildcats forward Keisha Todd, "and like coach says, it's hard to beat a team three times in the same season."

Pub Date: 2/27/97

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