Annapolis claims region prize Panthers push past Northern-Calvert, 64-48

Class 4A/Girls basketball

March 09, 1997|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

The long run to the Class 4A East region girls basketball championship is over for Annapolis.

The battle to replace Arundel as region champions has been won.

The war is next.

Annapolis will meet powerful Largo in the state 4A tournament semifinals Thursday at 3 p.m. at UMBC.

But star Annapolis center Jackie Edwards said she wants to enjoy last night's 64-48 victory over Northern-Calvert in the 4A East final at Annapolis for at least one night before thinking about the state tourney.

"I want to savor this one for a little while," said Edwards who led all scorers last night with 22 points and had 12 rebounds and two steals. "It felt so good to win this region championship for this team because three of us won't be back next year. Kristen [Kapusta], Dina [Brown] and Lauren [Gulotta] are seniors and have played such an important part in our success that it would have been a shame for them not to get to the states."

Edwards said it was also a thrill to de-throne region and state champion Arundel on the way to UMBC.

"Arundel was the best team last year but this year we showed them we were the best," said the high-scoring junior. "We're an especially close team and that has meant a lot."

Yesterday afternoon, the Annapolis players ate pizza together, compliments of their sometimes gruff coach Dave Griffith, and last night emotions ran high on the sidelines once again for Griffith and his players.

"I yelled at them during the game," said Griffith. "But before the game we all had a pizza party together. In the long run, I think our kids are better off because of the discipline. You just try to find out which button to push on certain players to make them perform better. We're like a family and what family doesn't have its arguments sometimes."

Edwards said of Griffith, "I think he really spoils us. He's nice to us and we all understand why he's hollering at us."

Griffith seems to have discovered the right button to turn junior point guard Kerry Miller into a complete player during the outstanding stretch run by the 23-4 Panthers who are ranked ninth.

Although she doesn't look very happy when Griffith is on her case, Miller just keeps responding with big baskets, key passes and outstanding defensive efforts to support the scoring and rebounding of Edwards and Kammi Cottrell who had 12 points and 13 rebounds last night.

Against a very athletic Northern-Calvert team last night, Miller scored seven points, had four assists and ran the offense superbly.

Kapusta was also outstanding for Annapolis, scoring 10 points with six rebounds and two steals.

Kapusta hit three 3-pointers last night, one in the first quarter and one each at the end of the second and third quarters for leads of 33-20 and 44-32.

That kind of outside shooting combined with the usual inside power of Edwards and Cottrell all night long was too much for the Patriots to overcome.

Especially when Northen-Calvert had a poor shooting night (22 percent from the field) compared to a normal night of 42 percent.

"Annapolis played strong defense on us and we just never could play our style," said Northern coach Rod Stewart. "I don't think our girls knew how hard they had to go at this level of the tournament to win."

Jen Mitchell led the Patriots with 17 points but the visitors never really threatened Annapolis after falling behind, 18-10, at the end of the first quarter.

Pub Date: 3/09/97

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