The basketball team that can dictate the tempo usually wins.
Such was the case at Westminster last night, as the No. 20-ranked Owls (16-6) dictated the fast tempo they wanted and defeated Chesapeake-AA in a Class 4A East Region girls quarterfinal, 58-45.
The Owls will play Arundel tomorrow night in the semifinals.
Sophomore point guard Kerry Higgs used her superior quickness to keep the Cougars (11-9) on the run in the first period, and freshman center Emily Bollinger scored eight of her 10 points that period as the Owls built a 13-7 cushion.
"When we start off with a nice cushion we are able to settle down a bit," Higgs said. "We had a gut feeling that we could win this game."
Westminster's defense was intense, making 23 total steals and forcing Chesapeake-AA, which was dominating the boards, to shoot 2-for-19 in the first quarter.
Chesapeake-AA, a team that prefers a half-court style, finished the game with four players in foul trouble because of the fast pace, and the Cougars' standout player, Courtney Gogolinski (16 points), was forced to sit out the entire third period in foul trouble.
"As Courtney goes, so goes our team," Chesapeake-AA coach Jerry McBee said. One Cougar, Nikki Deleonardo, fouled out trying to guard Higgs. Gogolinski, Meghan Klug and Kristi Elengerger each finished with four fouls.
Owls coach Dick Ebersole, after watching Chesapeake-AA warm up, felt his team would be able to handle a full-court game. "Kerry passed and shot well tonight. She can bust a zone with dribble penetration. Laura Vigliotti played good defense, and Hollie Cushion played well when she had to."
Higgs scored 13 points, made five assists and had four steals. Cushion, a junior, scored 13 points and had four steals. Vigliotti, a junior, scored six points and had four steals. Freshman Jennifer Walkling scored eight points and had five steals. Bollinger had six rebounds. In the second quarter, Chesapeake-AA went inside to 6-foot, 240-pound sophomore power forward Ginger Williams on its first four possessions, and she produced five points in that stretch. But the Cougars' zone defense failed to stop the Owls, who led 32-18 at halftime.
Despite missing their first 12 shots in the third quarter, the Owls held a 43-31 advantage after three quarters.