Churchill ousts Arundel by 70-61

No. 1 Wildcats done in by 18-0, 3rd-period run

Class 4A girls basketball

March 09, 2001|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

This fairy tale was supposed to have a different ending.

Top-ranked Arundel, winner of two Class 4A state titles in girls basketball, was supposed to streak past a young Winston Churchill squad making its first appearance in Maryland's version of the Final Four and then challenge undefeated Suitland, the Washington area's No. 1 team, for the state championship.

Instead, the Montgomery Countians shocked the Wildcats, 70-61, in a state semifinal at UMBC's Retriever Activities Center Arena in Catonsville last night.

Winston Churchill, which improved to 26-0, will meet Prince George's County's Suitland (21-0) in the final at 3 p.m. tomorrow.

The Bulldogs upended Arundel (25-2) by beating the defending state champion at its own run-and-gun game. Trailing by six after a mini-run by the Wildcats early in the third quarter, Winston Churchill scored 18 unanswered points off fast-break layups and put-backs to take a 46-36 lead.

The Bulldogs eventually posted 29 points in that third period - as many points as Arundel scored in the first half.

"Usually, we're more comfortable with a fast-pace game," said Wildcats senior guard Jill Marano, who registered 17 points, five assists and three steals despite missing numerous long-range shots from the field. "I don't think we were getting back as well as we could have. We let them do what they wanted to do."

Both teams connected on 36 percent of their shots, but the more telling statistics were rebounds, free-throw attempts, and turnovers.

Arundel, which normally dominates those categories, was outperformed last night. Churchill grabbed more rebounds (38-30), made more trips to the free-throw line (37-17) and committed fewer turnovers (19-21).

"Everything we normally do, they did better," Wildcats coach Lee Rogers said. "We picked the wrong game not to show up."

"They were doing a good job controlling the boards," said senior forward Tracy Pucci, who recorded 13 points and four rebounds. "That's something we're usually good at."

After a shaky first quarter in which the Bulldogs led 13-10, Arundel's best chance to put away its opponent came at the start of the second period, when two fouls benched sophomore guard Alis Freeman for Churchill.

But freshman forward Morgan Hatten posted seven of her 15 points in the quarter to keep her team afloat and trailing the Wildcats by only three points at halftime.

In the third quarter, Freeman exploded, scoring half of her game-high 24 points in that period.

"I owed them that, since I got into foul trouble early," said Freeman, who also had three steals and three assists. "I felt terrible that I couldn't help them."

Arundel senior forward Najmah Fauntleroy registered eight points and 18 rebounds in her final high school game.

WC-Freeman 24, Feve 14, Kamenstein 2, Adams 9, Hatten 15, Holland 6. Totals: 22 24-37 70. A-Marano 17, Dempsey 2, Gonzalez 3, Hernandez 8, Pucci 13, Fauntleroy 8, Scott 10. Totals: 24 10-17 61. Half: A, 29-26.

Girls playoffs

(At UMBC's Retriever Activities Center)

State semifinals


Class 4A

Suitland 57, Western 46 Churchill 70, Arundel 61

Class 3A

Milford Mill 59, Westlake 42 Paint Branch 43, Bladensburg 42 Today

Class 2A

Dunbar vs. Fairmont Heights, 3 Stephen Decatur vs. Urbana, 5

Class 1A

Bohemia Manor vs. Glenelg, 7 N. Dorchester vs. Southern-G, 9

State finals


Class 2A, 1 p.m.

Class 4A

Suitland vs. Churchill, 3 p.m.

Class 1A, 6 p.m.

Class 3A

Milford Mill vs. Paint Branch, 8 p.m.

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