Defense sets tone in Glenelg's rebound

No. 16 Gladiators dominate flat Centennial, 48-39

Girls basketball

High Schools

January 06, 2000|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Disappointed with its defensive performance in a 25-point loss to River Hill before the holiday break, Glenelg spent much of last week working on, you guessed it, defense.

It worked.

The 16th-ranked Gladiators harrassed and befuddled 14th-ranked Centennial, 48-39, last night at Glenelg in a game that wasn't that close.

"The key to the game was definitely our defense," said senior Stephanie Howell, who led the Gladiators (6-3 overall, 4-1 league) with 14 points and six rebounds. "We were much more focused. We worked a lot harder in practice the last week and the outcome was what we expected."

Added Glenelg coach Ciaran Lesikar: "Our defense was really what did it. It created offense for us and frustrated them."

Indeed. The Eagles, who made numerous turnovers against Glenelg's press and zone defense, never looked comfortable.

"We didn't play as a team," said Centennial forward Lisa Richardson, whose three-game stretch of double-figure scoring ended in zero points last night. "It was really frustrating."

Said Centennial coach Dave Greenberg: "We're not a real good team right now. This was a very, very disappointing performance."

Glenelg controlled both boards, earning second and third shots offensively and limiting Centennial (5-4, 2-3) to one shot on the defensive end.

"We're a short team and we have to be aggressive and we have to go for every loose ball," said Glenelg senior forward Jennifer Kurdziel, who scored 11 of her 13 points in the second half and added a team-high eight rebounds. "Everyone played hard and that's what made the difference."

Glenelg converted back-to-back Centennial turnovers midway through the second quarter to take a 17-11 lead. The Eagles tied the game at 18 on Maggie Via's basket with 50 seconds left, but freshman Chrissy Starcher and and Howell hit three-point baskets in the final 34 seconds to give Glenelg a 24-18 halftime lead it never relinquished.

"Those baskets were really big," said Lesikar, whose team shared the county title last season with the Eagles. "It gave us the momentum and a lot of confidence going into the second half."

Centennial got within 29-24 with 2: 40 left in the third quarter on free throws by Katie Morrison. But the Eagles scored only two more free throws the rest of the quarter -- they were seven of 20 for the game -- and Glenelg ended with a five-point run and a 36-26 lead.

The Gladiators opened the final quarter with a 10-3 run for a 46-29 lead with 3: 33 remaining. Glenelg scored its final points with 2: 27 left, then watched Centennial end its tormenting evening with an eight-point run.

Jasmine Hammond led the Eagles with nine points, and Via and Katie Morrison each had seven. Ashley Evans, Centennial's top outsider shooter, was limited to one first-quarter basket.

"We came in determined, but didn't follow through," Richardson said. "They wanted it more than we did."

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