Walker, Wheaton too much for Towson in semifinal Pesky Generals wear down in second half, bow 51-37

Class 2A/Girls basketball

March 15, 1997|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Towson coach Bev Snyder knew her team couldn't stop Wheaton guard Lesley Walker, but she hoped the Generals could contain her.

They did, for one half.

But Walker was dominant in the second half, scoring 21 of her game-high 30 points to lead the Montgomery County team to a 51-37 win in a Class 2A state semifinal at the University of Maryland Baltimore County yesterday.

Wheaton (23-2) will meet Southern-Anne Arundel in the title game at 1 p.m. today.

The final score was not indicative of how close the game was.

Towson (20-5), which entered the game as the decided underdog, led for most of the first half, as well as at halftime, 22-17.

With seven minutes remaining in the game, the Generals trailed by only two, 36-34.

Wheaton, however, ended the game on a 15-3 run, as Towson missed 13 of its last 14 field-goal attempts.

"We had this game within our grasp, and then we just let it go at the end," said Towson junior guard Sara Lev, who scored a team-high nine points. "I'm not really pleased, but I am glad that we got this far."

Wheaton, which had taken Linganore -- the state's top-ranked team -- into overtime earlier this season, entered the game averaging 68.3 points, compared to Towson's 53.7.

The Knights, however, were unable to get their offense going in the first half.

Towson double- and triple-teamed Walker, who was held to nine points on 3-for-14 shooting in the half. She averages 25.6 points with a 61.6 field-goal percentage.

"We just didn't play well, but Towson made us play poorly," Wheaton coach Walt Dupee said. "Towson was really scrappy. For them to steal the ball twice off Lesley Walker I haven't seen that done all year."

Towson set the tempo by exhibiting patience on offense. The emphasis was on finding the open player with good passes rather than doing a lot of dribbling.

After trading baskets early, the Generals scored six straight to take a 14-8 lead with 7: 50 remaining in the second quarter.

Towson never led by more than six, blowing an opportunity to take a seven-point lead into halftime when Lindsay Buchanan missed an open layup after a steal.

Walker, however, wasted little time in erasing the Knights' deficit in the second half. She made a base-line jumper and a three-pointer to tie the game at 22 with 6: 02 left in the third quarter.

After Lev scored to break the tie, Mary Jung answered with a three-pointer to give Wheaton a 25-24 advantage, the Knight's first lead since 4-2.

Towson was then dealt a major blow when junior forward Jaimee Reynolds (10 points, 9.7 rebounds a game) bruised her back going for a loose ball midway through the third quarter. She did not return.

Still, the Generals didn't quit. Just seconds after play resumed following Reynolds' injury, Jessie Ramer hit a short jumper to put Towson back on top, 28-27.

It would prove to be the Generals' last lead.

Wheaton ended the quarter on a 9-4 run, sparked by Walker's five points and an assist.

"We tried to contain [Walker] and we didn't. That was the game," Snyder said.

TOWSON -- Buchanan 6, Lev 9, Reynolds 6, Ju. Ramer 7, Hunt 4, Je. Ramer 4, Kanski 1. Totals 17 2-10 37.

WHEATON -- Jung 6, Walker 30, I. Agba 4, Miller 3, K. Agba 4, Eyere 2, Gear 2. Totals 17 12-20 51. Half: T 22-17.

Pub Date: 3/15/97

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