Following foul line, Western wins, 64-56

22 points on free throws top Walbrook in 4A game

Girls basketball

February 26, 2002|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

When the season began, Western's young girls basketball team struggled from the foul line, so coach Dana Johnson worked as many as 150 free throws into each practice. That extra work paid off yesterday.

The host Doves hit 22 of 30 free throws, including seven of eight in the final 90 seconds to secure a 64-56 victory over Walbrook in a Class 4A North Regional quarterfinal.

The Warriors, who won the regular-season meeting, 67-61, in overtime, hit three more field goals and three more three-pointers, but they couldn't keep pace with the Doves (16-7) at the line.

"Early on in the season," Johnson said, "we played Northwestern and we were 25-for-58 from the free-throw line. We lost by 11. Ever since then, we've been shooting a lot of free throws because we have to hit free throws for us to win."

In the fourth quarter, Walbrook (15-7) managed to close a 13-point gap to 57-52, but five missed free throws by the Warriors midway through the quarter were the difference. The Doves, however, hit nine free throws in the period.

"We put them on the line a lot," said Warriors senior Kitrece Carr. "They made their free throws and we weren't making none at all."

After LaChon Holley fed Carr for a layup to pull Walbrook within 57-52 with 1:37 left, Doves forward Lauren Brooks was fouled on a long pass from Jeanell Hughes at midcourt. Brooks, who scored eight of her 12 points from the line, sank two free throws.

Holley then made a nifty move down the lane to keep the Warriors within 59-54 with 58 seconds to go.

Before the Warriors had to start fouling on purpose, they sent Jerri Hicks to the line for two more free throws. Joy Dixon then added two more for a 63-54 Doves lead with 26.5 seconds remaining.

Another key to the Doves' victory was their balanced scoring. For one of the few times this season, they had four players hit double figures -- Hughes, 16; Brooks and Hicks, 12 each; and Myelle Chase, 11.

The Warriors, however, had just two players carrying their offense -- Carr, a 5-11 forward who scored 17 and had 19 rebounds, and Holley, who had a game-high 22 points.

Walbrook got off to a slow start against Western's pressure defense, turning the ball over eight times in the first quarter. The Doves made them pay, converting five turnovers into points.

The Warriors, who led only briefly early in the second quarter, came into the game expecting more after playing No. 4 Dunbar tough before losing, 67-62, in the Baltimore City championship a week ago.

"That gave us confidence, but as a team we just didn't play smart ball [yesterday]," Carr said. "Western just outhustled us. They came to play and we didn't."

The Doves, who have won five straight regional championships, advance to tomorrow's semifinal game vs. No. 11 Parkville, a 73-50 winner over Mervo last night.

"Our season wasn't all that great, but this is a new season," said Hughes, who also had six steals. "The states start a whole new season and every win counts."

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