Dixon-led Woodlawn denies Western a 6th straight title

Warriors reach states 1st time in 12 years, 53-45

Class 4A North girls basketball

High Schools

March 02, 2002|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Woodlawn forward Nicole Dixon was aware of Western's dominance in the Class 4A North Region playoffs, but her team's state semifinal drought weighed most heavily on her mind last night.

The senior wiped out both in a sizzling third-quarter surge that helped the host Warriors dethrone the Doves, 53-45, advancing the Baltimore County school to its first state semifinal appearance in 12 years.

The Warriors (21-3) will play the Suitland-Oxon Hill winner on Thursday at 5 p.m. at UMBC.

Woodlawn is only the second team to represent the North Region other than the Doves (17-8), who had their streak of five consecutive titles snapped. Western's other loss in the region finals came against Perry Hall in 1996.

"We just had to come out and play our hardest," said Dixon, who scored 11 of her 14 points in the second half. "We wanted it, they already had it, so we had something to fight for. We wanted it bad enough and we got it."

After a sporadic opening half, Woodlawn sent the Doves reeling, running off 17 consecutive points in the third to assume a 41-28 advantage. Dixon scored seven straight during the rally, starting with a three-point play off an offensive rebound. She followed with another offensive board and score before converting a layup off a pass from Tiara Wildy (four steals, three assists).

The Warriors extended their lead to 44-30 early in the final quarter after a three-pointer by Melony Rhames.

Wildy and sophomore Rhonda Shelley each contributed 10 points while Dixon hauled in 10 rebounds. Jeanell Hughes led Western with 12 points and five steals and Jeri Hicks had 11, eight in the first half.

"We didn't have the same intensity we had earlier in the week," said Western coach Dana Johnson, whose team was trying to become the second in state history to win its region six consecutive times. "Even after the third quarter, we still didn't pick it up."

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