Girls basketball state semifinals

High Schools

March 11, 2004|By Katherine Dunn and Glenn P. Graham

Girls basketball state semifinals

(At RAC Arena, UMBC)

Class 4A

No. 1 Arundel (24-2) vs. Oxon Hill (19-4)

When: Today, 3 p.m.

Outlook: The T-shirts that Arundel coach Lee Rogers surprised his team with after its 41-37 Class 4A East title win over Anne Arundel county rival South River stated the Wildcats' case: "Unfinished mission." Last year, the Wildcats fell, 63-60, to a more experienced Churchill team in the state semifinals but consider that, now, a lesson learned. With many of the key components back -- led by All-Metro guard Alex McGuire -- and some talented newcomers in the mix, the Wildcats like their chances of capturing a third state title. An overachieving Oxon Hill team -- making its ninth state tournament appearance without a title -- is in the Wildcats' way, first. After losing four starters from last year, coach Debra Anderson expected a rebuilding season, but the Clippers had other ideas with Virginia-bound senior guard Denesha Kenion (17 points) the focal point. The teams have one common opponent, Largo. The Wildcats handled the Prince George's County team, 75-61, in a holiday tournament. The Clippers lost their first meeting before winning the last two -- including a 47-39 win in the region semifinals.

No. 4 Woodlawn (23-3) vs. Damascus (24-1)

When: Today, 5 p.m.

Outlook: Woodlawn is in the third year of their three-year plan to win a state title. Two years ago, the Warriors lost in the state semifinals. Last year, they fell in the final. This time, only the championship will suffice, although they face a tough test in Damascus, a Montgomery County team ranked No. 6 in the Washington area. The Hornets rely on 5-8 guard Chrissy Phelps (18.6 points) and 6-0 forward Lindsey Zegowitz (13.1 points, 9.8 rebounds). The Baltimore County champion Warriors have four players scoring in double figures -- 5-8 guard Tiara Wildy (17.4), 5-7 guard Brittney Taylor (14.2), 5-11 forward Ronda Shelley (10.1) and 5-11 point guard Candice Britton (11.3), who also dishes out 11.2 assists per game. Riding an 18-game winning streak, the Warriors like to run, and coach DeWayne Burroughs said controlling the tempo will be a key.

Class 3A

No. 5 Western (23-2) vs. Paint Branch (24-1)

When: Today, 9 p.m.

Outlook: In the final four for the first time in three years, the Doves are looking for their first title since 1995. They draw the Montgomery County Class 3A/2A/1A division champs, ranked ninth in the Washington area and on a 19-game winning streak. Most of the Panthers' offense runs through 5-10 guard Ashley Alexander (18.6 points) and 6-2 center Amy Dodd (11.1 points, 10.5 rebounds). The Panthers also have some height in 6-1 forward Zhondria Benn (16 points, 17 rebounds) and 6-0 forward Bethany Sloat (10 points), who shoots 45 percent from three-point range. Ebony Dennis, a 5-7 guard, paced the backcourt with a 15-point average. The teams, with no common opponents, have nearly identical team statistics: the Doves average 59.5 points a game while allowing 34.3; the Panthers score 62 and give up 35.3.

Class 2A

No. 14 City (22-2) vs. Walkersville (25-0)

When: Tomorrow, 3 p.m.

Outlook: The Knights followed up their first Baltimore City championship by winning their first regional title. Their Frederick County opponent, however, won the Class 2A title last season in its first tournament appearance. The Lions, ranked No. 5 in the Washington area, have won 45 straight games; City has won 21 straight. Both teams boast balanced offenses. Guards Chelsea Trout (14.2 points) and D.J. Vernoy (10.1) lead the way for the Lions, and guard Alanna Ingram (11.6) and swing player Amanda Burroughs (10.5) pace the Knights. Both teams have an inside presence, as well. For the Knights, 6-0 Ashley Branch and 5-10 Danyelle Brown combine for 13.5 points and 11.4 rebounds. For the Lions, 5-10 Ronetta Walker and 6-0 Emily Lancaster contribute a joint 13.3 points and 11.5 rebounds.

Class 1A

No. 18 Southside (16-6) vs. Pocomoke (23-3)

When: Tomorrow, 7 p.m.

Outlook: Southside, in just its third year of varsity play, makes its first appearance in the state tournament. The Jaguars' route to UMBC was not easy -- they had to dethrone four-time champion Dunbar to get there. With only nine players, the squad from Baltimore's Cherry Hill area, has four players who average in double figures -- 5-8 guard Patrice Griffin (22 points), 6-0 guard Sharee Ledbetter (16), 5-11 forward Angela Speight (13) and 5-6 guard Tiffany Lewis (12). Those four also account for 35 of the team's 50 rebounds. The Warriors, from the Eastern Shore, are also looking for their first state crown after falling to Dunbar in last year's final. Small and quick, the Warriors are led by 5-5 Andrea Reed (17.8 points, 5.3 assists), 5-1 Shannon Nixon (14.5 points) and 5-3 Vanisha Hall (10).

Loch Raven (19-6) vs. Southern-Garrett (21-4)

When: Tomorrow, 9 p.m.

Outlook: The Raiders, a semifinalist last season, return to the state final four looking for the school's first state crown since 1976. Southern, the Western Maryland Interscholastic League champs, is on an 11-game winning streak, including a 59-57 win over Poolesville for the regional title. The Rams, after the school's first state title, have been a much higher scoring team, averaging 61.8 points per game; the Raiders put up 43.2. The Rams are led by 5-5 guard Robbin Gregg (16.6 points), 5-11 forward Becca Flanagan (16.7) and 5-8 guard Justine Pagenhardt (14). Megan Battle, a 5-10 center, leads the Raiders with 11 points and 9.4 rebounds while three-point ace Laura Queen averages 10.6 points.

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