Arundel builds up to beating Annapolis

Trailing after 1st quarter, No. 2 rolls to 66-35 victory

Girls basketball

High schools

January 06, 2001|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

For a half, the Annapolis girls basketball team played like a contender for a state title.

But No. 2-ranked Arundel, the defending Class 4A state champion, showed its mettle by overcoming a one-point deficit in the first quarter and scoring 38 points in the second half to romp over the host Panthers, 66-35, in Annapolis last night.

Senior guard Jill Marano led the Wildcats with 25 points, five steals and four rebounds, but it wasn't easy as Arundel (9-1 overall, 4-0 county) appeared to be sluggish coming out of the gate.

"We just came out real slow," Marano said. "I don't think we were prepared for the game mentally."

That mistake nearly proved costly as Annapolis - which dropped to 5-5 overall, 1-3 in county - took advantage with an active defense and a shooter's mentality.

Both teams shot terribly in the first quarter, missing layups and sometimes the rim. Yet, the Panthers maintained an 8-7 edge by the end of the period.

In the second quarter, the Wildcats found their rhythm through Marano, who posted 14 of her points in the period. During one stretch, Marano scored four consecutive baskets.

Armed with a 28-20 lead at halftime, Arundel worked to involve its talented inside duo of senior forwards Najmah Fauntleroy and Tracy Pucci.

Pucci scored all four of her points in the third quarter, while Fauntleroy - who did not start because she missed practice Thursday due to illness - scored four of her seven points in the second half.

Although the Wildcats had the most success from its perimeter players, such as Marano and senior guard Catherine Gonzalez (who scored nine of her 13 points on three-pointers), Fauntleroy and Pucci did their best work on the glass, hauling in 14 and 10 rebounds, respectively.

Arundel coach Lee Rogers blamed himself for his team's lethargic start. "We had a tough practice [Thursday]," he said. "They did a lot of running, and they may not have had their legs in the first quarter."

While the Wildcats seemingly scored at will, Annapolis wasn't quite as fortunate. The Panthers missed 46 of 59 shots, but sophomore guard Whitney Crankfield registered 14 points and four steals. And sophomore center Samantha Sydney finished with seven points and 11 rebounds.

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