Dunbar's 19-1 burst dispatches Catonsville

Down by 9, No. 11 Poets dominate third period to capture region, 71-66

2A North girls basketball

March 04, 2001|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Senior Tiera Little took over in the paint in the third quarter, sparking a 19-1 run that rallied the 11th-ranked Dunbar girls basketball team to a 71-66 victory over No. 13 Catonsville in yesterday's Class 2A North regional final.

"I realized this is my last year and had to do what I got to do," said Little, a three-year veteran. "We might have underestimated Catonsville a little, but we kept our heads in it and got it done."

Dani Packer scored 14 of her game-high 24 points in the first half and Ashley Ligget tossed in 13 of her 15 as visiting Catonsville (21-5) took a 40-31 halftime lead. The nine-point deficit was erased in the crucial third period of the evenly matched game in which each team shot 37 percent and sank 20 free throws.

Little proved to be the difference in returning Dunbar (21-4) to UMBC to defend its state title. The Poets will play at 3 p.m. Friday in the state semifinal against Fairmont Heights.

The 5-foot-8 Little, who had 12 of her game-high 16 rebounds in the second half, scored 10 of her 16 points in the third period during the frantic run by the Poets.

"Tiera really went after it in the second half, and our girls didn't want to lose their last home game," Dunbar coach Wardell Selby said. "And we adjusted our full-court press, which they did not see when they scouted us."

Dunbar, which has not lost at home the past two seasons, outscored the Comets 26-8 in the third quarter to take a 57-48 lead into the final period.

"We were tired and flustered a little bit in the third period. That did us in," said Catonsville coach Mike Mohler, who used seven players to Dunbar's 11. "We ran out of gas, but give Dunbar credit for taking the air out of us in the third period."

With Little dominating inside, Toni Kennedy and Tiffany Jones took control from the outside. Little used her strength and athleticism to consistently outmuscle the Comets for rebounds.

Kennedy, who scored 15 points, hit two of her game-high four three-pointers in the third period while Jones, who had six boards, scored 10 of her 17 points.

Dunbar led by double digits most of the last period, with its biggest margin at 65-50 after two free throws by Jolonda Leake with 3:52 left.

Catonsville didn't quit and made a late rally that started with the fourth three-pointer of the game by Maura Lentz (15 points).

Packer, who had 15 of her team's 27 rebounds, scored on a follow and Ligget on a short jumper to make it a 70-66 game with 30 seconds left. But the Comets got no closer.

"We talked all day yesterday about winning at Dunbar where we knew it would be tough, and the girls came in positive," Mohler said.

"I'm proud of the way they played."

Boys playoffs

(All games at University of Maryland, College Park) State semifinals Thursday

Class 3A Randallstown vs. Westlake, 3 Crossland vs. Thomas Johnson, 5

Class 4A Lake Clifton vs. E. Roosevelt, 7 Arundel vs. Magruder, 9 Friday

Class 1A Pikesville vs. Oakland Mills , 3 Snow Hill vs. Southern-Garrett, 5

Class 2A Dunbar vs. Fairmont Heights, 7 Wicomico vs. Fort Hill, 9 State finals Saturday

Class 1A, 1 p.m.

Class 3A, 3 p.m.

Class 2A, 6 p.m.

Class 4A, 8 p.m.

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