Top-ranked Arundel retains county crown

McGuire comes alive in 2nd half of 56-46 win over No. 9 Severna Park

Anne Arundel girls basketball championship

High Schools

February 23, 2005|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

The top-ranked Arundel girls basketball team relied on its defense in the first half and on All-Metro guard Alex McGuire in the second half to defend its Anne Arundel County crown with a 56-46 win over No. 9 Severna Park at Old Mill last night.

The defending Class 4A state champion Wildcats improve to 20-3 on the season as they prepare for the East region playoffs. Severna Park, which fell for the third time to Arundel this season but closed the gap last night with a strong defensive effort, falls to 18-5 with the Class 3A South region playoffs up next for the Falcons. Both teams received a bye for the opening round set for later this week.

Arundel coach Lee Rogers said the start of the second half was critical. That's when McGuire, last year's Metro Player of the Year, took over.

The senior guard scored nine of her game-high 25 points in the third quarter to help turn a 22-14 halftime lead to a 33-20 advantage that held up for the Wildcats, who also got 11 points and 10 rebounds from senior forward Janae Butler.

"At the beginning of the third quarter, we just knew we had to come out very intense, take care of the basketball and try to get some baskets," Rogers said.

The win gave the Arundel program its eighth county championship since it began in the 1995-96 season.

Last night, the Falcons' sagging zone defense made it tough on the Wildcats, who dominated the inside in their two previous meetings. With things tough at the offensive end in the first half, the Wildcats counted on defense to carry them through. They forced 13 Severna Park turnovers in the first half and held the Falcons to just 25 percent shooting from the field to limit them to just 14 points.

Despite the setback, Severna Park coach Dave Griffith was pleased with the effort and can find plenty of positives entering the playoffs. On Feb. 11, the Wildcats had an easy time in a 74-44 win.

"You can say they had an off-night shooting, but I think our defense had a lot to do with that. If you hold them to 22 points in the first half, you're doing something right," Griffith said.

Guard Breon Summers led the Falcons with 14 points, while Laura Moore and Jen Wiley each finished with 10 points.

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