Keough seniors bid fond, triumphant farewell

Gators rout Roland Park for 3rd straight title, 45-29

Girls basketball

February 20, 2000|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Seton Keough's Class of 2000 closed out an an era last night by leading the Gators to a third straight tournament title.

Seniors Meghan Allan and Denise King combined for 32 points as the No. 4 Gators defeated No. 15 Roland Park, 45-29, for the first Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference Tournament crown at Loyola College's Reitz Arena.

Last night's title came on the heels of back-to-back Catholic League titles. For the last three years, Allan, King, Nikki Brown, Laura Stromberg and Kim Keene have been part of a Gators team that has won the toughest league in the Baltimore Metro area.

"It means a whole lot to us, because the four of us have been been together since we were 11 years old," said King, who played AAU ball with Allan, Brown and Stromberg. "This is the payoff for all that hard work."

King, an All-Metro guard headed for Rhode Island, scored 15 and had five rebounds and two assists. Allan, a guard going to Fairleigh Dickinson, scored 17 and hit four three-pointers.

"It's tough [to see them leave]," said coach Jim Stromberg, "but they've accomplished so much. They've been together so long and they know each other so well. I can't say enough about them."

Last night's game said plenty.

Behind their trademark stingy man-to-man defense, the Gators (24-4) took a 30-13 halftime lead and survived a third-quarter scoring drought that lasted until the last five seconds.

The Reds (18-11) opened the second half with a 10-point run as the Gators missed nine shots.

"We just played relaxed in the third quarter, but we knew we had to pick it back up," said junior guard Keisha Blackwell, whose layup finally ended the drought.

King and Stromberg opened the fourth quarter with back-to-back baskets. Blackwell then fed Allan for a 20-footer and a 39-25 lead that all but ended Roland Park's upset hopes with 5: 10 to go.

The Reds came into the game riding a wave of upsets, including Tuesday's quarterfinal win over undermanned No. 1 St. Frances, but they couldn't find a defense that could stifle the Gators for long. They didn't have the quickness to match Seton Keough's guards in a man-to-man and Allan lit it up over their zone.

"They present all kind of matchup problems, that's why we tried to get away with a zone," said Reds coach Scott Buckley, whose team was AIS A Division runner-up the last three years.

"All year, [6-2 Esther Ehrmann] has had to guard a guard. She's done a great job, but it really wears her down and we don't get out of her what we should offensively."

Ehrmann finished with five points and five rebounds, but her defense shut down Brown.

The Gators started to blow the game open in the second quarter when the Reds' zone couldn't keep track of Allan. She hit three three-pointers in the first 2: 30 of the quarter for a 26-11 lead.

"When they went to a zone, we just swung the ball really well and found Meghan in the corner," said Blackwell. "They didn't know whether to come out on her or lay back in the post, so she just put the shot up and it was her night for threes."

The Reds' third-quarter rally cut the Gators lead to 30-23 on a short jumper by Caline McHenry, who led Roland Park with 10 points. But Blackwell's quarter-ending layup snapped the Reds' momentum and they didn't have enough left to make another run.

Notre Dame Prep 36, Friends 34: Emily Burke scored all seven of her points in a 13-point fourth-quarter run and the Blazers (18-5) held on for the B Conference title. Karleena Tobin scored 16 points and Ashley Bastinelli added 14 for the Quakers (14-9).

Towson Catholic 32, Park 29: Freshman Megan Haywood hit two three pointers in the fourth quarter to help lift the Owls (19-6) to victory in the C Conference final. Haywood had a game-high 12 points. Her sister Erica, a senior, scored eight to reach her career 1,500th point.

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