Arundel finishes with shine, 73-70

Wildcats top South River with McGuire's 25 points, Butler's double double

Girls basketball

High Schools

January 16, 2004|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

There's something to be said about the No. 3 Arundel girls basketball team and the fourth quarter of a close game.

Somehow, some way, the Wildcats usually find the needed answers whether it looks good or not.

Last night in Edgewater against No. 9 South River, the Wildcats cranked up the defense early in the final quarter to help build a manageable margin and then closed the game effectively in the final minute for a solid 73-70 road win.

Junior guard Alex McGuire finished with a game-high 25 points, nine rebounds and six steals with junior forward Janae Butler holding her own down low to finish with 17 points and 17 rebounds. The Wildcats improved to 9-2 overall and 5-0 in county play.

It was McGuire who beat the buzzer with a soft jumper from 10 feet to give the Wildcats a 59-55 lead going into the fourth quarter, which the visitors took control of with defense.

"When it's crunch time, I think we've been there enough times ... I think some of the pride and how hard they work rises to the top," said Arundel coach Lee Rogers.

South River (8-3, 5-1) turned the ball over on the first two possessions of the fourth quarter and missed its first six shots, ultimately missing an opportunity to pull off the upset. By the time South River junior guard Rachel Fry scored on a drive through the lane with 5:18 to play, the Wildcats had built their first double-digit lead at 65-55 with a basket and an assist from McGuire.

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The Seahawks started fast - jumping out to a 12-1 lead - but were slowed when senior standout forward Lindsay Sheppard, who accounted for seven of the first 12 points, got her second foul three minutes in. The Wildcats immediately went on an 11-0 run to tie the score at 12, and the game stayed tight the rest of the way.

Balanced scoring came from both teams with seven players reaching double figures. Along with McGuire and Butler, junior point guard Ana Baker had 12 points and nine assists, and sophomore guard Danae Brownlee finished with 13 points and eight rebounds.

Fry led the Seahawks with 18 points, with guard Stacy Hunt adding 16 and Ali Moreland providing 15. Foul trouble and strong play inside from Butler and Latavia Vails limited Sheppard to just eight first-quarter points.

"I'm not sure it affected me, but I had to sit for a while like you always do when you get in foul trouble," Sheppard said. "The team did fine without me. A couple of our shots didn't fall - it was a good game. We play them again - this won't change anything and we'll keep our heads up."

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