City can't find its feet in 46-33 loss

Walkersville capitalizes on experience in beating Knights for 46th straight

2A state girls basketball

High Schools

March 13, 2004|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Early in last night's Class 2A state girls basketball semifinal, it was obvious Walkersville felt at home at UMBC's RAC Arena and City did not.

On their first three possessions, the No. 14 Knights turned the ball over on shot-clock violations and they quickly fell behind by 11 points. The Knights never recovered as the defending-champion Lions went on to win, 46-33, for their 46th straight win.

The Lions (26-0) advanced to meet Potomac (22-3), a 69-44 winner over Stephen Decatur in yesterday's other Class 2A semifinal, for the title this afternoon at 1 p.m. at RAC Arena.

The Knights (22-3), who had hoped to win their first state championship, will have to settle for their first city title and their first regional title. With only three seniors on the roster, they vowed to return to UMBC next season.

"They had been here before and they know what it takes to accomplish their goal," said City junior guard Madea Bailey.

"They knew what to expect when they got here and what the competition was going to be. For us, it was our first time coming here, but we take this as a good experience to know what to expect next year, because we plan on coming back and winning."

The Lions' experience showed from the beginning as their man-to-man defense swarmed the Knights, who struggled to find any consistency on offense.

Alanna Ingram hit a short jumper with 4:06 left in the first quarter, but that was the only time the ball went through the hoop for the Knights as the Lions, a Frederick County team ranked No. 5 in The Washington Post, built a 13-2 lead.

Lions senior guard Gina Casadei, who scored 11 points while teammate Chelsea Trout had 13, knew exactly how the Knights felt.

"I definitely think they were a little nervous, but we were used to the big gym and all the lights, so we just came in and played our game," said Casadei, whose team made its first trip to the state tournament last season.

"Last year, we were so starstruck by everything that the game came second almost."

The Knights did manage to come as close as 33-27 late in the third quarter when Ashley Branch banked in a 10-footer to cap a seven-point run. To kick off the run, Amanda Burroughs fed Branch inside and then found Brandi Matthews and screened her for a three-pointer.

But 15 seconds later, Dorothy Vernoy fed Emily Lancaster at the other end to break the Knight's momentum and give the Lions a 35-27 lead going into the final quarter.

"When we pulled within seven, we needed the next basket and I thought we would have had a shot," said City coach George Petrides, "but they didn't break. They bent a little, but they didn't break."

The Knights shot just 25 percent from the field and got more scoring from their bench than from their starting lineup. Reserve guard Matthews led the way with eight points, including two three-pointers.

W-Vernoy 7, Walker 5, Casadei 11, Trout 13, Hessler 2, Lancaster 7, Harrison 1. Totals 16 13-21 46. C-Bailey 4, Ingram 2, Burroughs 2, Brown 2, Branch 6, E.Smith 2, Champ 4, Matthews 8, T.Smith 3. Totals 13 3-8 33. Half: W, 27-17.

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