Panthers foil Wildcats' shot at revenge

No. 2 St. Frances girls 55 No. 4 Arundel 52

December 11, 2007|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN REPORTER

St. Frances guard Shatyra Hawkes knew No. 4 Arundel would have plenty of motivation coming to East Baltimore last night after the Panthers won in Arundel's gym a year ago.

"We don't like to lose, so we weren't taking that," Hawkes said. "We're not going to let nobody come in our house and think they can beat us. We beat them in their house, and then we were going to beat them in our house."

The No. 2 Panthers did just that in a close call.

Hawkes orchestrated the key fourth-quarter run that gave St. Frances the lead for good en route to a 55-52 victory over the Wildcats in what has become an intense crosstown rivalry.

"Competitive games are always the best," the Wildcats' Simone Egwu said. "It was so tight. I'm pretty disappointed we didn't win, but I'm proud of my team."

The Panthers (2-0) used strong rebounding, swarming man-to-man pressure and a solid inside-outside game in a nine-point run that gave them a 54-47 lead with about two minutes left in the game.

After Tasia Bristow's long jump shot tied the score at 47, Hawkes fed Sophy Ngobeni, hit a three-pointer and fed Kandice Green. That stretch proved costly for the Wildcats as Egwu, a 6-foot-3 center, fouled out.

Still, the Wildcats (0-1) rallied to pull within two on an off-balance 14-footer that Ashley Davis launched between two defenders. The shot banked in with five seconds to go, cutting the Panthers' lead to 54-52.

Davis, who finished with a game-high 24 points, fouled Hawkes on the inbounds pass, and Hawkes hit the first shot in the double bonus with 2.1 seconds to go.

The Panthers (2-0) got the better of the inside game as the 6-1 Green (17 points, 12 rebounds) and 6-2 Ngobeni (eight points, five rebounds) did battle with Egwu (nine points, nine rebounds) and the 6-4 Sheronne Vails. St. Frances out-rebounded the Wildcats 44-37.

"They definitely wanted us to lose, because we lost all our starters from last year and we had to come out and prove them wrong. We had to dig deep and pull one out for the team," said Green, the only returning starter for the five-time defending Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference champions.

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