State tournament previews

Girls Basketball

March 09, 2000|By Katherine Dunn

Class 4A

No. 7 Western (19-6) vs. Oxon Hill (20-4)

When: 5 p.m. today

Where: UMBC

Outlook: The Doves are in their fourth straight state final four and face another formidable Prince George's County rival, Oxon Hill, which dethroned Suitland in the South region semifinal and then edged top-seeded Largo, 50-49, for the title. Coach Debra Anderson remembers Western because the Doves beat her team en route to state crowns in 1994 and 1995. The Clippers last appeared in a final four in 1995 and haven't been to the title game since 1977. Oxon Hill prefers a half-court offense and plays strong defense. Senior Rebekkah Brunson, a 6-2 C headed for Georgetown, has 21 double doubles and averages 23.5 points, 16.2 rebounds and 3.4 blocks. The Clippers also rely on 5-4 sophomore G Charetta Oliver (15.2 points, 6.4 assists) and 5-5 senior G Jesthela Lopez (10.1 points, 7.1 assists). No Dove is as tall as Brunson, but 5-9 senior F Joy Gorham has had some fine defensive performances against big girls. Coach Artie Uhlich's Doves average 68 points a game, 10 more than the Clippers. The Doves' scoring is more balanced. Four players averaging in double figures -- 5-9 junior F Lillian Drumgold (15 points, 9.2 rebounds), 5-10 senior C Tyecia Powell (12.3 points, 8.5 rebounds), Gorham (12 points, 8.8 rebounds) and 5-6 junior G Stephanie Tolbert (11.2 points, 4.4 assists).

Class 3A

No. 8 Milford Mill (20-4) vs. Thomas Stone (23-2)

When: 9 p.m. tonight

Where: UMBC

Outlook: State runners-up two straight seasons, the Millers are title-hungry. That tournament experience will come in handy against the Thomas Stone, a Charles County team in its first state tournament trip. On paper, just about everything comes up in the Millers' favor. The Millers are riding a 15-game winning streak; the Cougars have won 11 straight. The Millers average 71 points, the Cougars 57.6. The Millers allow just 41 points, the Cougars 44.4. The Millers' top player, 5-8 Rutgers-bound G Mandakova Clark, averages 21 points, seven assists and six rebounds; the Cougars' top player, 5-11 Penn-bound F Jewel Clark, averages 18.9 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. With speed and Clark's quick moves, the Millers play up-tempo, converting often in transition. The Cougars prefer a slower game but can move quickly. Coach Pam Wright's Millers, coming off their fifth straight Baltimore County championship, have grown from a Clark-centric group early in the season to a more team-oriented group. Along with 5-8 senior F Kristen Smith (eight points), several young players have emerged as threats -- 5-9 sophomore F Tamina Wilkins (10 points, eight rebounds), 5-11 junior C Folake Adeymo, 5-6 junior G Shari Burgess and 5-9 junior F Tamika Rogers. The Cougars are older, with two other seniors joining Clark in their starting lineup -- 6-0 C Shannon Washington (7.8 points, 10 rebounds) and 5-6 G Lynn Malone (8.1 points) -- as well as 5-4 junior G Tyane Washington (10 points, six assists) and 5-9 sophomore G Ashley Blandford.

Class 2A

No. 1 Dunbar (23-1) vs. Gwynn Park (23-2)

When: 5 p.m. tomorrow

Where: UMBC

Outlook: The Poets, in the state semifinals for the first time, come in with their first Baltimore City title and riding a 15-game winning steak. To get to the final, they must get past Gwynn Park, which has won 16 straight and is taller than most of Dunbar's opponents this season. The Yellow Jackets, from Prince George's County, get most of their scoring inside, where 5-11 senior F Donna Williams averages 15 points and 10 rebounds, and 6-1 sophomore C Charmaine Carr contributes 10.1 points and 8.8 rebounds. Carr set a school record for blocks this season with 71. The Poets' post game revolves around 5-10 senior C LaKesha Wills, Baltimore's leading scorer with 24.5 points, plus 14.5 rebounds. Both teams have well-rounded offenses that include high-scoring guards -- Gwynn Park's 5-8 senior Candice Wilkins (14.5 points, 5.7 assists) and Dunbar's 5-7 sophomores Toni Kennedy (15.6 points) and Tiffany Jones (10.1 points, 8.3 assists). The teams have similar numbers for points allowed and rebounds (about 40). Gwynn Park coach Marvin Vann says he's concerned about Wills' ability to score from anywhere within 20 feet, the Poets' five 100-points-plus games, and 80.5 average -- best of any semifinalist. His Yellow Jackets average 63.8. "We got to 80 once," he said. "I don't know that we can score like that."

Girls playoffs

State semifinals (At UMBC)


Class 4A

Arundel vs. Frederick, 3

Western vs. Oxon Hill, 5

Class 3A

DuVal vs. Paint Branch, 7

Milford Mill vs. Thomas Stone, 9


Class 2A

Parkside vs. Linganore, 3

Gwynn Park vs. Dunbar, 5

Class 1A

Pocomoke vs. Allegany, 7

Glenelg vs. Rising Sun, 9



Class 2A, 1 p.m.

Class 4A, 3 p.m.

Class 1A, 6 p.m.

Class 3A, 8 p.m.

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