Southern's `D' delivers against Poly in semifinal

Bulldogs to play for sixth 2A crown today

Southern 63 Poly 53

Girls basketball

March 10, 2007|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Sun Reporter

Southern gave Poly a dose of defense last night in the Class 2A girls basketball state semifinals and it proved to be too much for the Engineers.

The Bulldogs of Anne Arundel County pressed Poly into 45 turnovers and scored 27 points off them to fuel a 63-53 victory at UMBC's RAC Arena.

In their record 13th appearance in the state tournament, the Bulldogs (18-5) will go after their sixth state title and their first since 1985 when they meet No. 9 Atholton for the title today at 1 p.m. at RAC Arena.

Last night, Southern coach Linda Kilpatrick said the Bulldogs benefited from being in the tournament a year ago.

"I think it's evident that a little bit of experience helps you," said Kilpatrick, who is in her 30th season with the Bulldogs. "Both teams that are in the championship are ones that were denied last year and when you get rid of that little bit of nerves at the beginning, I think it helps."

The Engineers (16-6) were in the tournament for the first time in the history of the Baltimore City school, which became eligible for the state playoffs in the 1992-93 season. But it didn't show early. They hit their first five shots and there were nine lead changes in the first half.

The Engineers shot well throughout - 48.9 percent from the field - and outrebounded the Bulldogs, 50-37. They just turned the ball over too many times.

"All throughout the playoffs, we've had a tough time with taking care of the basketball," Engineers coach Kendall Peace said. "Most teams, in all honesty, that press don't like to be pressed."

Brittany Wiseman had seven of the Bulldogs' 20 steals in the first half as they took a 32-26 lead into the break. They extended it by 10 points by late in the third quarter, with the help of eight Poly turnovers in an 8-2 run that boosted the lead to 46-36.

After India Scott's follow shot pulled Poly within 46-40 to open the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs took off again. Kim Schneck's three-pointer from the corner with 5:46 to go capped a six-point run that gave the Bulldogs their biggest lead of the night, 52-40.

"I was missing a lot of easy shots. They kept [rimming] out and I was very aggravated, but I just kept plugging away and it fell for me," said Schneck, who led the Bulldogs with 16 points.

Poly, led by Teaunsha Robinson's 16 points, pulled within 52-43 on her driving layup and a three-pointer from Shenika Johnson with 5:01 left, but the Engineers could get no closer.

katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

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