Fourth-quarter spurt sparks No. 4 Arundel over Glen Burnie

Marano provides a lift off bench in 62-59 victory

Girls basketball

January 25, 2000|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

The Arundel Wildcats have been a good basketball team for quite a while now, always considered a state contender as well as playing the role of measuring stick for the rest of the county.

Last night in Gambrills, an emerging Glen Burnie team went in looking to find out just how close it was.

The answer? Inches.

The No. 4-ranked Wildcats needed an unconventional seven-point play in the middle of the fourth quarter with junior guard Jill Marano providing the necessary spark off the bench in a 62-59 win over the No. 17 Gophers.

The Wildcats, who also got a 16-point, 16-rebound effort from junior forward Najmah Fauntleroy, relied on their big-game experience in the final minutes to fend off another challenger.

"Every year, we know people measure their program on how they play us," said Arundel coach Lee Rogers, whose Wildcats have reached the state tournament three times since 1995, winning a state crown in 1996.

"It gets tougher every year, teams are getting better and we're also getting better, too. Hopefully, we can keep everyone behind us."

After not scoring in the first 4: 48 of the fourth quarter, it was the Wildcats (11-1, 7-0 in Anne Arundel) who found themselves trailing 53-47 after Glen Burnie's Essence Greer (game-high 21 points) hit a three-pointer to close out a 10-0 run.

Marano didn't enter the game until the closing minute of the third quarter after reaggravating an ankle earlier in the day. The junior guard scored a breakaway layup and was intentionally fouled to start a seven-point swing.

She hit all three free throws and Tracey Pucci followed with a jumper from the left corner to give the Wildcats a 54-53 lead.

The Gophers, who fell to 10-2 and 6-1 in the county, regained control later with Greer and Alicia Carr hitting consecutive baskets for a 59-56 lead, but the Wildcats did all the scoring in the last minute with Keyana Washington hitting a key basket and Marano hitting three of four from the free-throw line.

"I think there were two quality teams on the floor. Arundel's experience showed up at the end and our inexperience showed up," said Glen Burnie coach Vicki Plitt. "But every game we get a little older and a little more mature. If this was to happen, I'd rather it happen in the 12th game of the season than the 23rd when we start the playoffs. We believe now we can play with anyone."

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