After Arundel guards take over, Paint Branch fades away, 65-44 Proctor, Rollins lift 'Cats to 3rd final in four years

Class 4A girls basketball

March 13, 1998|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

After a couple minutes in the second quarter of yesterday afternoon's Class 4A semifinal, Arundel's talented guards, Sherice Proctor and Megan Rollins, decided it was time to take over.

The Paint Branch Panthers didn't know what hit them.

By the time all the hassling was over with at UMBC -- Rollins finishing with 18 points, Proctor 17 and the two combining for 10 steals -- the No. 5-ranked Wildcats had a comfortable 65-44 win and their third trip to the state title game in four years.

East region champ Arundel (24-3) will meet Prince George's County's Suitland for the Class 4A state championship at 3 p.m. tomorrow at UMBC. The Wildcats' first and only state title came in the 1996-97 season.

Yesterday, a sluggish start had them down 17-9 early in the second quarter against Montgomery County's Paint Branch, winners of the West region, before Proctor and Rollins poured it on.

Proctor got it started with a three-pointer at the 6: 20 mark and Rollins ended it with a runner in the last minute of the half. The seven-point deficit turned into a 29-23 halftime lead with the two accounting for all 20 of the Wildcats' points in the frame. Four steals during the run translated into eight easy points.

The statement was made, and the Wildcats comfortably maintained an eight- to 10-point lead throughout the second half before pulling away with good free-throw shooting (18-of-24 for the game) down the stretch.

"[Arundel's] pressure killed us," said Paint Branch coach Heather Podosek, whose Panthers finish the season 17-10. "They really did a nice job pressuring our guards, and we had a hard time getting into our offense. They had the best guard pressure we've seen all year."

The Wildcats, winners of their last 15 games, are most pesky defensively when freshman guard Jill Marano and freshman forward Najmah Fauntleroy come off the bench to join Proctor, Rollins and junior center Shaunte Edmonds. They were all on the floor in the second quarter when the Wildcats made their pivotal run.

"Everything changes when they're in, and that's not to take anything away from [starters Breanna Kitchen and Lindsey Schiesz]," said Arundel coach Lee Rogers. "It brings up-tempo. We're a little quicker, a little more aggressive."

Said Proctor: "We're a lot faster and play better defense, which allows Megan and me to take more chances."

The Wildcats' primary concern going into the game was limiting Panthers standout Christen Greene. The 6-3 forward, headed for North Carolina State, came in averaging 17 points and 12 rebounds a game.

Good team defense with the guard pressure forcing Greene (12 points) to go get the ball farther away from the basket than normal helped out Edmonds, who finished with 11 points and nine rebounds.

Greene picked up her third foul in the second quarter and, aside from a brief stint early in the fourth quarter, was not much of a factor later.

"We knew they had some big people that we had to stop. Shaunte played well and stepped up," said Proctor.

Pub Date: 3/13/98

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