R. Hill repeats last year's loss

No. 1 Hawks lose big lead to Bladensburg, 64-59

3A East girls basketball

March 04, 2001|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

With 6:45 left in the third quarter, top-ranked River Hill led visiting Bladensburg by 15 points in last night's girls Class 3A East region championship.

This year would be different.

Last season, the Hawks ran into foul trouble, a poor third quarter and missed opportunities in losing the regional final at home to DuVal.

This year would be different.

It wasn't.

Sophomore Candice Howard scored 19 second-half points, three fewer than the entire River Hill team, and the Mustangs rallied before a stunned River Hill crowd for a 64-59 victory and a trip to state tournament at UMBC.

"We let it go again," said River Hill sophomore Laura Hostetler.

Howard, a 6-foot sophomore, finished with 29 points. The Hawks (23-2) had no answer for her, defensively or offensively.

"We were determined not to lose," said Howard, who has scored 90 points in three playoff games. "We've worked to hard to get here. I know they wanted to win, but we wanted to win more."

River Hill's top scorers, seniors Greeba Outen Barlow and Keiko Miller-Tate, scored four points in each half and finished with eight. Outen Barlow, who had averaged 27.5 points in two playoff games, picked up her third foul with 6:56 left in the second quarter and found the bench. Miller-Tate picked up her third foul with 3:47 left in the half. Neither fouled out, but they played tentatively at times in the second half.

"Keiko and Greeba are really upset because they know this is it. They didn't finish," said River Hill coach Teresa Waters. "They feel they let the team down."

Outen Barlow, who picked up her fourth foul last year against DuVal early in the third quarter, shouldered the blame."

"It was terrible. It was a repeat of last year," Outen Barlow said. "I let my team down."

Bladensburg (22-3) outscored River Hill 20-8 in the third quarter, cutting its deficit to three points.

Talisha McCullough, who finished with 20 points, gave Bladensburg a 51-50 lead on a layup with 4:01 left to play. Freshman Ashley Thomas answered for River Hill with a 15-foot jumper and a 52-51 advantage. That was the Hawks' last lead, as Bladensburg took advantage of four turnovers to score seven unanswered points for a 58-52 margin with a minute left.

Outen Barlow's two free throws cut Bladensburg's advantage to 61-59 with six seconds left, but McCullough's three-point play two seconds later iced the game.

Bladensburg, which missed often from the outside in the first half, went more to the basket in the second half against River Hill's zone defense and it paid off. The quicker Mustangs also controlled the boards in the second half .

Sophomore point guard Fana Walcott led the Hawks, who are 47-3 over the past two seasons, with 12 points. Thomas had 10.

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