Montgomery-Blair ends run by Western in semifinal, 55-46 Doves' 21-game streak falls

team out-hustled

Class 4A/Girls basketball

March 14, 1997|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

From the moment they suffered a shocking one-point loss to underdog Perry Hall in the region finals last year, Western's players were determined to reach the state semifinals this season.

That mission was accomplished rather easily, breezing through four regional playoff games by an average margin of nearly 54 points.

Unfortunately for the Doves, they apparently didn't set their goals any higher.

An intense Montgomery Blair team out-hustled and outplayed No. 11 Western en route to a 55-46 victory in a Class 4A state semifinal at UMBC yesterday.

The Blazers (24-2), ranked sixth in the Washington area, will make their first appearance in the championship game since 1982 -- when they won their only state title -- at 3 p.m. tomorrow against Largo at UMBC.

Western (24-4), which had its 21-game winning streak ended, was seeking its fourth trip to the finals in five years.

"This team was on a much higher level than the teams we played in the regionals," Western senior forward Marian Moore said. "It was an eye-opener for us. They really wanted it more than we did. Our goal was to make it here to the final four, and we really didn't think about making it to the championship game."

It was evident from their effort that the Blazers had championship aspirations.

They seemed to get most of the loose balls and out-rebounded Western 43-35, including a 25-18 edge on the offensive boards. Moore, who entered the game averaging 18 points during the regular season and 27 points in the playoffs, was held to eight points.

She and her teammates could not get in sync on offense.

The Doves, who usually have a strong inside-outside game, uncharacteristically missed numerous layups, and their outside shooting was off. Western shot just 29.5 percent from the field.

Western, which starts three sophomores and has just two seniors, trailed by as many as 16 in the second half and did not get its deficit under 10 until the game's final minute.

"Marian was the only one that had experience [in the state semifinals], and our kids were just nervous," Western coach Breezy Bishop said.

Pub Date: 3/14/97

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