No. 3 Arundel wears down Meade, 69-63

Marano's free throws at end hold off Mustangs

Girls basketball

January 12, 2000|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

While the Meade Mustangs have spent the first half of the season in constant turmoil, their biggest county rival, No. 3-ranked Arundel, has systematically used the time to build for a run in the state playoffs.

Last night, the two teams met for the second time this season, and it was typical Meade-Arundel basketball.

The Wildcats relied on a big second quarter and then got timely points from their two standouts in the second half to leave Meade with a 69-63 win.

Junior Najmah Fauntleroy scored eight of her team-high 16 points in the third quarter, and junior guard Jill Marano, who returned after missing five games with a sore ankle, hit a key jumper and five of six free throws in the final minute to assure the win.

The Mustangs (2-8) have lost their head coach, Phil Popielski, who resigned unexpectedly just before the holidays; their leading scorer, senior LaTanya Eldridge was declared ineligible last week for not officially residing in the school district, and they had to forfeit games in which she played.

But they were still able to give the Wildcats (9-1, 5-0) a hefty test deep into the fourth quarter.

"We've gone through a lot of adversity and played one of the top teams in the state -- ranked third in the Sun poll -- and we stayed with them," said Meade coach Royal Webster. "You have to give the girls all the credit -- you can't coach heart. Every girl in the program has showed a tremendous amount of heart."

The Mustangs had a 21-12 lead early in the second quarter before the Wildcats took over with constant pressure on the ball defensively and 9-for-16 shooting.

They scored 13 straight points in the middle of the second quarter and took a 36-27 lead at the half when senior guard Keyana Washington (13 points) hit a jumper at the buzzer.

"We just started playing better defense, were rotating the ball and making better decisions," said senior guard Chanell Sutton, who finished with 13 points.

"We were ready for them -- it's just Meade and Arundel. We really worked hard in practice for this game."

The Mustangs, who got a 23-point, 11-rebound effort from junior standout Nicole Dailey, were able to cut the Arundel lead to 60-56 when freshman guard Lay Hicks (17 points, five assists) converted a three-point play with 3: 24 left.

But they wore down, ran into foul trouble and then Marano made sure at the line for the Wildcats.

Pub Date: 1/12/00

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