Slow start dooms Bulldogs in semis

Middletown 55 Southern 40

Girls basketball Class 2A

High Schools

March 11, 2006|By GLENN GRAHAM | GLENN GRAHAM,SUN REPORTER

With most of the advantages leaning toward Middletown in yesterday's Class 2A state semifinal, most notably more size and experience, the Southern girls basketball team was left with little margin for error.

The last thing the Bulldogs from Harwood could afford was a slow start.

But it happened, and while the Bulldogs showed their scrappy ways in getting close in the second quarter, they never were able to find the needed push and lost, 55-40, at UMBC's RAC Arena.

Southern senior center Sarah Ziegler scored 15 points and added six rebounds, but it wasn't enough to offset the Knights' balance and fast start.

Starting five seniors, Middletown, from Frederick County, hit three of its first four shots and built a 16-6 lead going into the second quarter.

The Bulldogs settled in, getting consecutive baskets from Brittany Wiseman in the last minutes of the second quarter to pull within 26-21 at the break, but the Knights started the third quarter with a 19-5 run.

The Bulldogs' season, which included their 12th regional title and 29-year coach Linda Kilpatrick's 400th victory, comes to an end with a 17-9 mark.

"They worked very hard this season, won the region and we didn't come here to lose. But to play for a championship, you have to play like champions and have a little luck, too," Kilpatrick said. "We still have a young team, so that will keep me around for a couple more years."

Middletown, which was making its ninth state tournament final four appearance and will go after its fourth crown tomorrow against Milford Mill, got 19 points from Amanda Kinna and 15 from Kristen Waeber to fend off the Bulldogs. The two accounted for 15 of the Knights' 19 points in the third-quarter spurt.

"Getting here was wonderful, a great feeling, but taking the loss wasn't," Ziegler said. "I don't think it had anything to do with experience. Our juniors and sophomore have the experience. They just came out strong and we had butterflies. We shouldn't have come out slow -- it was our mistake."

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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