Western, Dennis stop L. Clifton, 55-43

Free-throw troubles cost Lakers

Doves get rematch with Woodlawn

Class 4A North girls basketball

High schools

March 07, 2003|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Lake Clifton could not have asked for much more than to get Western's high-scoring Jeanell Hughes in foul trouble early in last night's Class 4A North regional girls basketball semifinal.

With Hughes and her 26.7 scoring average on the bench much of the middle two quarters, the host Doves could have been in big trouble except for two things - the Lakers could not hit their free throws, and Doves freshman Ebony Dennis stepped up to fill Hughes' scoring void.

The No. 20 Lakers shot 16-for-34 from the line, and Dennis scored 24 points to lead the No. 12 Doves to a 55-43 victory.

The Doves (21-4) will visit No. 2 Woodlawn in tomorrow's 3 p.m. regional final rematch. The Warriors were 38-32 winners over Parkville in yesterday's other semifinal.

Last night, the Baltimore City champs held off a determined Lakers squad (18-3) that lost only to Western and No. 16 Dunbar.

The Lakers, down by 10 just after the half, rallied to within three points, but hitting a few of the 11 free throws they missed in the first half sure would have helped.

"We're a pretty good free-throw shooting team," said Lake Clifton coach Delora Walker, "but we couldn't knock them down today. My hat's off to Western. We got Jeanell in foul trouble early as we planned, but then Ebony Dennis pretty much did the same thing she did against Dunbar."

Dennis, who scored 21 in the city title victory over Dunbar, scored eight, including 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the third quarter.

After the Lakers cut the lead to 32-29, Dennis scored the only two Doves points in a 9-2 Lakers run capped by Shannon Scott's three-point play and Rayna Dukes' steal and layup.

Western coach Donchez Graham brought Hughes back into the game, but Dennis remained a factor.

The Doves' pressure defense then started working on the Lakers. A Lakers turnover resulted in a couple of Dennis free throws. After Krystal Vaughn (13 points) got one point back at the other end to pull within 34-30 with 2:22 to go in the quarter, the Doves put together the key run of the game.

Joy Dixon nailed a 12-footer. Hughes, who scored only nine, hit a short jumper and turned a Lakers turnover into a layup. Dennis then converted a steal to boost the lead to 42-30. The Lakers never recovered.

However, the Doves weren't too pleased with their own performance, especially from the line where they shot even worse than the Lakers, 14-for-34.

"We frustrated ourselves," said Hughes, who missed five games after suffering a broken jaw in the last Lakers game, a 56-53 Doves win. "Me and [Zhondria] Benn put ourselves in foul trouble early, but the second string stepped up to the plate."

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