St. Frances whips Woodlawn

No. 2 Panthers jump out fast, never look back to dominate No. 3, 65-34

Girls basketball

High Schools

January 04, 2004|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Yesterday's girls basketball matchup between No. 2 St. Frances and No. 3 Woodlawn may have lost some of its luster when the preseason No. 1 and No. 2 dropped behind current No. 1 Arundel - but not for the players.

There was no lack of aggressive play even after the host Panthers broke this one open in the third quarter en route to a 65-34 victory at St. Frances.

"We came out real aggressive and we wanted it more," said Panthers senior Nija Bastfield, whose team broke out to a 10-2 lead. "A lot of trash talk was being said, so we had to quiet the crowd down with our playing and not with our speaking."

Most of the players on both sides have known each other for years and have played basketball together. After last season when the Panthers won the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championship and the Warriors won the Baltimore County championship and were state Class 4A runners-up, both coaches jumped at the chance to schedule a game.

"This was a game that had to be played just for local interest in girls basketball," said St. Frances coach Jerome Shelton.

Shelton's team, coming off the championship of its own Christmas tournament, took control right from the start. The Panthers (7-2) used their man-to-man defense to throw Woodlawn off-balance and kick their running game into gear.

The Warriors (4-3) committed five turnovers in the first two minutes, and the Panthers allowed them only four shots in the first 4:30.

Tammy Rogers' three-pointer to open the second quarter put the Panthers up 20-8, but the Warriors had their chance to recover at the free-throw line. Instead, they hit only two of 10 free throws. Those misses loomed large a little later when an 8-2 spurt cut the St. Frances lead to 27-18.

"Free throws are always vital, especially when it's a big game, but it just wasn't there today," said Woodlawn guard Brittney Thomas, whose team finished 4-for-17 from the line.

With the Warriors closing on them, the Panthers picked up their running game and took control of the boards to score 20 straight points. When Shadae Swan fed Bastfield for a three-pointer, the Panthers led 46-18 with 3:59 left in the third quarter.

"This was a quality win for us," said Shelton. "The toughness of that team - I knew they were going to battle on every possession. I knew they weren't going to quit. They accepted this challenge. They wanted to play this game."

Rogers led all scorers with 16 points, and Angel McCoughtry added 12 points and nine rebounds for the Panthers. Ronda Shelley led Woodlawn with nine points and 10 rebounds.

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