Gaithersburg ousts Arundel

Wildcats have no answer for Trojans' defense

Gaithersburg 54 Arundel 45

High schools

Girls basketball Class 4a

March 10, 2006|By GLENN GRAHAM | GLENN GRAHAM,SUN REPORTER

Hassled relentlessly in the beginning, the Arundel girls basketball team found itself in a jam it couldn't quite recover from in the Class 4A state semifinal against Gaithersburg yesterday at UMBC's RAC Arena.

Smothering defense from the Trojans, poor choices with the ball and foul trouble led to the end of the No. 6 Wildcats' season as they fell, 54-45, to end their season with a 22-5 mark.

Gaithersburg will make its first state title appearance tomorrow when it meets Eleanor Roosevelt, a 66-49 winner over Springbrook in yesterday's other semifinal.

The priority for the Wildcats coming into yesterday's game was handling Gaithersburg's pressure defense. For a good chunk of the first half, it didn't happen. The Wildcats could muster only one field goal until three minutes remained until halftime.

It enabled the Trojans (25-1) to build a 22-7 lead that the Wildcats challenged but overcame.

Arundel senior guard Danae Brownlee, a starter on the Wildcats' last title-winning team in 2004, was disappointed with the effort after the season-ending loss.

"We just didn't come out like we were supposed to," said Brownlee, who finished with a team-high 11 points. "I don't think anybody was ready to play."

Despite the slow start, Wildcats coach Lee Rogers felt his team was in good shape trailing 12-4 after the first quarter. Without freshman center Simone Egwu for much of the game because of foul trouble, the Wildcats cut the deficit to five early and late in the third and fourth quarters.

Brittany Watts made a driving layup with two seconds left in the third quarter. Danielle McFadden added an inside basket on the Wildcats' first possession of the fourth, cutting Trojans' lead to 38-33 with 7:47 left.

But Gaithersburg, which got 15 points and seven rebounds from Seton Hall-bound LaTanya Copeland, always had an answer. This time, it was a three-pointer from reserve guard Lindsey Harman 12 seconds later.

"Obviously, we didn't shoot the ball well [at the start]. I thought we rushed some shots and at times I thought our youth showed," Rogers said. "Our kids didn't quit - they didn't go down without a fight, and we've got a lot of young kids coming back who got a taste of it. I just feel bad for our three seniors. They did a great job for us this season."

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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