No. 11 Dunbar keeps Fairmont Heights down in semifinals

T. Jones scores 17 points, leads a team effort for defending champ, 54-46

High Schools

Class 2A girls basketball

March 10, 2001|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Fairmont Heights had come from behind to win all of its regional playoff games, but No. 11-ranked Dunbar made sure that didn't happen in yesterday's state Class 2A girls basketball semifinal.

The defending champion Poets built an 18-point lead in the third quarter and held on to beat Fairmont Heights, 54-46, at UMBC.

With No. 1 Arundel falling in Friday's Class 4A semifinal, the Poets (22-4) are the only team left in the girls tournament with a chance to repeat as champions. They advance to meet Urbana, a 62-48 winner over Stephen Decatur, in today's 1 p.m. title game.

Yesterday, the Poets never trailed, combining hot outside shooting with a tough inside game to dispatch the Hornets (19-6) back to Prince Georges County.

Junior guards Tiffany Jones and Toni Kennedy each had a big day, but the Poets owe their victory to their team game. They ran out of gas a little at the end but had enough depth to hang on.

"Everybody's contributing," said 6-foot center Ciarra Jones, who finished with four points and six rebounds. "Everybody knows it's not an `I' team. Everyone has to pitch in and do their job and together, that makes a winning team."

Tiffany Jones scored 17 and had seven rebounds, five steals and three assists while Kennedy added 14 points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists.

"They're very good and they can do a lot of things," said Hornets coach Barbara Tyner of the duo. "What we were afraid they were going to do, if we shut them down, was get the ball to the girls in the middle, and that's what they did."

Forwards Ciarra Jones and Tiera Little combined for 12 points and 16 rebounds. While the Poets only out-rebounded the Hornets 42-40, Dunbar had 20 offensive boards.

"The type of player [Ciarra Jones and Little] been facing in the past, the big girls, we knew this team didn't have any," Kennedy said, "We knew we could get away with murder a little bit down low. We told them, `We're going to look for y'all, because you can get rebounds and score.' "

The outside game gave the Poets the early lead; back-to-back layups from Little, another from Jolunda Leake and consecutive three-pointers from Tiffany Jones and Kennedy helped boost the lead to 27-15 by halftime.

It was more of the same in the third quarter after the Hornets' Brooke Blain, who scored 16, hit a baseline jumper to pull within 27-17. Kennedy converted two steals, Ciarra Jones hit a layup and Little added two free throws to run up a 35-17 edge with 3:29 left in the quarter.

The Hornets pulled within 46-40 with 1:58 to go, but Tiffany Jones hit both ends of a one-and-one and Kennedy fed Little to run the lead back to 10.

The key defensive performance for the Poets was that of Williams, who held Hornets point guard Mia Glover to six points."[Glover] plays with a lot of energy," Poets coach Wardell Selby said, "so we figured if we could get her out of her rhythm and force the 2 [shooting guard] and the 3 [small forward] to handle the ball and run the offense through them, it would improve our chances of winning the game."

FH-Blain 16. Glover 6, Wheeler 9, Battle 15. Totals: 17 12-17 46. D-Kennedy 14, Hill 2, Williams 3, T.Jones 17, Leake 6, Little 8, C.Jones 4. Totals: 19 12-18 54. Half: D, 27-15.

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