Western upsets Parkville in OT to reach region final

Young Doves continue unlikely bid for 6th in row

Girls basketball

February 28, 2002|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,SUN STAFF

The Western basketball team's run of five consecutive regional titles figured to end this season, as the Doves were in a rebuilding mode. But after losing seven games during the regular season, Western appears to be peaking at the right time.

The visiting Doves moved within one victory of a sixth straight regional crown by upsetting No. 11 Parkville, 48-45, in overtime in a Class 4A, North region semifinal last night.

Western (17-7) will meet Woodlawn, a 60-46 winner over Lake Clifton, tomorrow night in the championship game.

"We're coming together as a team," Western coach Dana Johnson said. "We're fighting and hustling and playing on heart, because that's all we have. We haven't been ranked all season, so coming in to play the No. 11 team on their court, we didn't have anything to lose. The pressure was on them."

The Doves, who have just two seniors (one starter), showed poise beyond their years late in the fourth quarter and in overtime against the Knights (22-2), who were less than two weeks removed from an upset of then-No. 3 Catonsville in the Baltimore County championship game.

In a game where points were hard to come by, Western rallied from a five-point deficit with 2:24 left in regulation and a four-point deficit with 2:51 left in overtime.

The Doves won despite going the first 1:44 of overtime without a point and the first 2:16 of overtime without a field goal. That first field goal -- a three-pointer by Jeanelle Hughes -- evened the score at 45.

"Coach always tells me if I'm open to take the shot," said Hughes, who scored a team-high 16 points. "I wasn't specifically looking for the three. I just knew that we needed a quick basket."

Neither team scored again until Joy Dixon hit two free throws with 31 seconds left to give Western a 47-45 advantage.

After the teams exchanged turnovers, the Knights -- who were hurt by 6-for-21 shooting from the foul line -- got the ball back with 12 seconds remaining. But Courtney Wernick's shot was blocked by Jerri Hicks and Nicole Wilson's shot was off the mark.

Myelle Chase (15 points) grabbed the rebound for the Doves and was fouled with one second left. She made one of two free throws to give Western a three-point lead. Freshman Patrice Griffin's desperation shot wasn't close. Griffin had a game-high 19 points.

A baseline drive by Parkville's Deshonda Barton (17 points) with one second left forced overtime.

The loss ended a surprisingly successful season for Parkville, which lost starting senior guard Michelle Manella to a torn meniscus and a torn medial collateral ligament against Catonsville.

"I told them they have nothing to be ashamed of," Parkville coach Allison Shinners said. "No one expected Parkville to have a season like this. But there were times when we should have taken control of the game and we didn't. And to Western's credit, they didn't back off."

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