Roland Park tops Woodlawn, 55-45

Reds grab quick 17-4 lead, hold off No. 3 for tourney

Girls basketball

High Schools

December 31, 2003|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

It doesn't matter the team or the place, the Roland Park girls basketball team just enjoys proving it belongs.

Last night at No. 3 Woodlawn's Lady Warrior Tournament, the No. 4 Reds started fast and then provided the finishing touch from the free-throw line to pull out an impressive 55-45 championship game win over the host team.

So just how are the Reds - who earlier in the month knocked off then-No. 1 and current No. 2 St. Frances, 56-39, in its home gym - doing it?

Just ask senior guard Dani Kell: "It's all about defense and rebounding; playing smart and playing hard; and letting the game come to us."

Add a big first quarter when the Reds (9-2) limited the Warriors (5-2) to just 2-for-16 shooting from the field to build a 17-4 lead; some timely three-pointers throughout from sophomore guard Amanda Hessinger, two apiece in the second and third quarters; and seven made free throws in eight tries in the final two minutes of play to preserve the win.

Hessinger led all scorers with 17 points, Kell finished with 12 and effectively handled the Warriors' pressure defense, and a collective defensive effort came from the Reds when it was needed most.

With its lead cut to 39-33 going into the fourth quarter, Roland Park again clamped down with Woodlawn not getting any points until three minutes had passed.

"It was tough coming into their gym, but this is what we wanted - to see them in the championship. We wanted to show that we've got what it takes," said Kell.

The Warriors got 14 points from junior guard Brittany Taylor and 13 more from senior Candice Britton, getting back in the game in the third quarter when a basket from Taylor cut the lead to 33-28 with 3:16 left.

But Roland Park always had an answer to keep a safe distance, and a number of times it came from Hessinger, who answered with a three-pointer from the left side on the Reds' very next possession.

Kell scored six of her points in the fourth quarter, including two free throws with 1:31 left after the Warriors pulled within 48-43. The Reds hit five of six from the foul line from that point on.

The Warriors were limited to 24 percent shooting from the field and hit only seven of 16 shots from the free-throw line while finishing with 17 turnovers.

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