Western beats Catonsville in 3A North semifinal, 57-35

Doves a win away from fifth straight regional crown

March 03, 2010|By Katherine Dunn | Baltimore Sun reporter

Western's basketball team has knocked off Catonsville in the regional playoffs four times in the past five years. While the scores don't look that close, these wins never come easily for the Doves.

Wednesday night, the No. 12 Comets led into the second quarter and stayed close into the third quarter before No. 10 Western's depth of talent and uptempo game took over en route to a 57-35 victory in a Class 3A North regional semifinal. The Doves (16-6) will be looking for their fifth straight region crown when they visit Poly, a 69-52 winner over Aberdeen in the other semifinal, in Friday's title game.

The Doves, who have won 13 regional championship -- tied for the most in state girls tournament history -- used a 12-3 run through the middle of the third quarter to break away from the Comets (22-2).

Sparked by five points and an assist from Tenicia Spence, they built a 35-20 lead from which the Comets could never recover. Amirah Tucker boosted the Doves' lead with four 3-pointers in the final 8:24 of the game. The two guards combined for 31 points.

"Once we got our rhythm, we kept shooting," Tucker said. "Overall, we struggled in the first quarter, but once we got into our groove and started playing Western basketball, we were OK."

Early on, the Comets controlled the tempo, slowing the pace and working diligently to find the open player. They led 7-4 at the quarter, but they didn't help themselves by missing some easy inside opportunities and by struggling from the free-throw line, where they finished 5-for-21.

Once the Doves picked up the tempo in the second half, they got better shots and simply wore down the Comets. Without the deep bench Western enjoyed, Comets coach Mike Mohler had to switch from his more effective man-to-man defense to zone. That gave Tucker more openings for her 3-pointers.

"We knew we had to get on them quick and we don't face that caliber of team every day," said forward Maya Torrain, who led the Comets with 12 points and eight rebounds. "We were quick on defense, quick on passes, but second half, we don't have the depth or the stamina to keep going against their pressure."

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