Bottom line - Oakland Mills wins championship Despite 22 turnovers, Scorps get 38-31 victory

Class 1A girls basketball

March 15, 1998|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN StAFF

In a perfect world Oakland Mills would have played its finest game of the season last night in the Class 1A state championship against Williamsport.

It didn't happen. Not by a long shot.

But the Scorpions did something more important than look good. They won.

"It was an ugly game but a win is a win," said Oakland Mills senior point guard Jamie Beale after her team defeated the Wildcats of Washington County, 38-31, at UMBC.

"I wish yesterday's [Friday] game was today's, but you know we won, and that's the bottom line," said Oakland Mills coach Teresa Waters, whose team played splendidly in routing Rising Sun, 56-27, in the state semifinals. "I don't want to lose focus on that because a state championship is a state championship, and I don't want to discredit any part of it."

Still, Waters certainly had hoped her 20th-ranked team would have played better.

"Needless to say you want to be elated, and I am," said Waters, whose school earned its first state title after reaching the finals in 1977 and 1991. "But I would have liked to have won it by playing a decent game."

Williamsport was determined to stop Beale, who averaged 16 points in the first four playoff games, and it did. She made one of 16 shots -- a three-pointer in the fourth quarter when she scored all seven points of her points.

"They contained Jamie very well which took us out of our offense," Waters said. "When your general is not taking the lead you're bound to have problems. Jamie continued to play defense, but she struggled on offense."

Still, Beale said she wouldn't change a thing.

"Actually I don't wish I could take it back," said Beale, the heart of the team who missed most her sophomore season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee. "Everybody has their down game, and this was my worst of the season. But just as I played bad it gave everybody else a chance to step up, and they did."

It was 6-foot-1 freshman center Rayna DuBose (game-high 14 points) that stepped up the most.

After Waters delivered a stern halftime message, the Scorpions, who led 11-10 after two quarters, played their best eight minutes of the game.

Oakland Mills (18-9) outscored Williamsport, 13-4, and DuBose scored eight from the inside. Three of her four baskets came off offensive rebounds.

"That was the plan," said Beale, who could laugh about it afterward. "I was going to miss on purpose and I knew Rayna would be there."

So just had bad was this game? Here are some low lights:

Oakland Mills had more air balls (three) then baskets (one) in the first quarter. The Scorpions committed seven turnovers and trailed, 8-2, at the end of the period.

Williamsport (17-9) missed all five of its second-quarter shots and made two of five free throws.

The teams combined to commit 47 turnovers (Williamsport had 25) and took 56 free throws, 36 coming in the final quarter.

The Scorpions made 12 of 42 field-goal attempts and missed 14 free throws. The Wildcats made nine of 40 from the field and missed 15 free throws.

"Who did play well? I can't say," said Waters, who was puzzled why her team didn't use it's height advantage better. "Rayna [DuBose] had a little spurt, but outside of that "

Williamsport, which scored more points in the fourth quarter than it did in the first three quarters combined, rallied to within five, 36-31, with 27 seconds left but got no closer.

Certainly, it was a game of mixed emotions for Oakland Mills, which ended the season by winning 10 of its last 12 games.

"Running on that court is the best feeling in the world," Beale said. "And then coming out on top it was my dream since the beginning of the season."

But playing poorly hurt.

"It was very frustrating," Waters said. "Standing there when you've won the game, you're ready to jump for joy. Needless to say I was happy, but not as happy as I would have liked to have been."

Still, the goal of a state championship was met. "They've accomplished something that no other girls team at Oakland Mills has every accomplished," Waters said.

Nothing ugly about that.

Pub Date: 3/15/98

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