Woodlawn grabs championship

Warriors improve to 20-0 with 58-51 win over M. Mill

Baltimore County girls basketball

February 28, 2003|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

When the girls basketball season began three months ago, the Woodlawn players weren't happy with their No. 19 preseason ranking, but coach DeWayne Burroughs told them to use that as motivation.

Ever since, the Warriors have been out to prove something. Last night, they put an exclamation point on their rise from No. 19 to No. 3 by defeating No. 7 Milford Mill, 58-51, for their first Baltimore County girls basketball championship in 12 years.

The Warriors improved to 20-0 and remain the only unbeaten team in The Sun's Top 20 rankings.

On a team that seems to have a different star every night, sophomore guard Brittany Taylor had the big game with 14 points and eight steals. Her defensive efforts helped the host Warriors pull ahead in the second quarter and hold off the Millers, who struggled with their shots early but hit some key three-pointers to stay in the game.

Taylor had a lot of help as 5-foot-11 forward Ronda Shelley also scored 14 and had 13 rebounds. Guard Tiara Wildy scored 12 and 6-2 freshman center Kim Carr had five points and nine rebounds.

The Warriors, who have no seniors, fell behind early, but once they took the lead, they used a strong defensive effort to keep a step ahead of the Millers, who won five county titles between 1996 and 2000.

"We were always out to prove something," said Taylor, whose team reached the state Class 4A semifinals a year ago. "We knew we should have been recognized last year and we weren't quite where we wanted to be, but now we're right there. We're striving to be at the top and, as you can see, we're getting there."

The Millers (18-3) used their quick man-to-man defense to run up an early 11-5 lead, but the Warriors turned up their own heat early in the second quarter.

"We didn't expect them to be as quick as they were," said Taylor. "We were a little caught off guard. We had to think. We had to out-think their defense and we were able to do that in the latter part of the second quarter on in."

Taylor led the comeback with a couple of steals that helped the Warriors tie at 13-13. She converted a steal to tie, and Wildy banked in a layup to pull the Warriors ahead 15-13 with 5:26 left.

With the Millers struggling with their offense, the Warriors pulled ahead 19-13 when Taylor stole another ball and fed Wildy. The Millers went without a field goal for more than nine minutes before Ashley Cates pulled them within 19-15. Going 9-for-11 from the free-throw line in the first half kept the Millers close.

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