On the short end

Ea­gles lose bat­tle in­side and at the line against the Pa­tri­ots

Maryland Independent - - B Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com

Through­out the course of last Thurs­day af­ter­noon’s Wal­dorf Hol- iday Hoops girls bas­ket­ball cham- pi­o­nship game be­tween Old Mill of Anne Arun­del County and host North Point, the Pa­tri­ots sought to use their size ad­van­tage in­side to off­set the quick­ness of the Ea­gles.

Both teams found ways to uti- lize their strengths at times, but Old Mill even­tu­ally nar­rowly pre­vailed, 58-54, in the fi­nal of the two­day tour­na­ment. It was the third straight year in which North Point and Old Mill have met in the Hol- iday Hoops fi­nal, with the Pa­tri­ots now claim­ing a 2-1 ad­van­tage in those meet­ings.

Old Mill (5-1) sopho­more cen­ter Syd­ney Faulcon (6 foot 2) and se­nior cen­ter Rebecca Lee (6 foot 1) both loomed as im­pos­ing pres­enc- es from the out­set against the small- er North Point (5-2) squad, which boasts a pair of 5 foot 11 play­ers in se­nior Necole Hope and fresh­man Kennedy Davis. But the Pa­tri­ots’ tan­dem of Faulcon and Lee oc­cu­pied con­sid­er­ably more space in the paint which en­abled Old Mill to get more sec­ond chance buck­ets and more free throw at­tempts.

“Their two big girls posed a real challenge,” said North Point coach Michael Ser­pone, whose team de­feated Mas­s­aponax 63-48 in one tour­na­ment semi­fi­nal the day be­fore, while Old Mill downed Thom- as Davis, 58-42, in the other semi. “If you don’t get a body on them, then they’re go­ing to get the re­bounds. They had a lot of sec­ond chances. Over­all, I thought we played OK. We could have played bet­ter.”

Old Mill used a 7-0 run dur­ing the lat­ter por­tion of the first quarter to gain a 12-5 lead, but the Ea­gles ended the drought when fresh­man guard Sy­nia John­son nailed a three­p­oint field goal wth 35 se­conds left in the pe­riod to nar­row the deficit to 12-8. Old Mill again pushed the lead to six points on three dif­fer­ent oc­ca­sions in the sec­ond quarter, but the Ea­gles drew even at half­time on two free throws from Hope and a bas­ket and two free throws from se­nior guard Aliyah Bul­lock.

“It’s al­ways an op­por­tu­nity for us to get bet­ter when we play them,” said Hope, who led all scor­ers with 22 points in a los­ing cause. “Their big girls in­side are def­i­nitely tough

to de­fend. You have to stay in front of them. If you don’t box out, then you end up reach­ing and pick­ing up fouls.”

A sim­i­lar sce­nario un­folded at the start of the sec­ond half as the Pa­tri­ots opened the third quarter on an 8-2 run and even­tu­ally pushed the lead to 37-30 when Lee com­pleted a con­ven­tional three-point play. But the Ea­gles again re­spond- ed with another late surge. Hope nailed a three-point field goal and later added a pair of free throws, as did sopho­more guard Latavia Jack­son which brought the Ea­gles within 42-39 head­ing into the fourth quarter.

Old Mill sopho­more guard Des­tiny Galloway opened the fi­nal frame with a layup for a 44-39 lead, but three min­utes later Hope con­nected on her sec­ond three-pointer of the half to bring the Ea­gles even at 46. Old Mill guard Brandi Hall sank four straight free throws to give the Pa­tri­ots a 52-48 lead with 3:36 re­main­ing and the Ea­gles could never draw even again, al­though they came close.

Over the last 150 se­conds, Faulcon fouled out and then buck­ets by Hope, Bul­lock and Jack­son brought the Ea­gles within two points on three dif­fer­ent oc­ca­sions. But Old Mill se­nior guard Alayshia Dai­ley sealed the ver­dict with two free throws with 7.5 se­conds re­main­ing.

“We had our chances,” Bul­lock said. “We just gave them too many chances. Their big girls are tough to de­fend. You can’t prac­tice against some­thing like that. We missed a lot of shots in the sec­ond half. I think we still have our goals. We want to win SMAC and get to states. I don’t think our goal is go­ing to change.”

PHOTO BY WAL­LACE BAR­RON

North Point se­nior guard Aliyah Bul­lock drives to the bas­ket be­tween Old Mill de­fend­ers Maya McBride, left, and Syd­ney Faulcon, right, in Thurs­day’s Wal­dorf Hoops Clas­sic cham­pi­onship game that Bul­locks Ea­gles lost 58-54.

PHOTO BY WAL­LACE BAR­RON

North Point se­nior Necole Hope drives to the bas­ket past a trio of Old Mill de­fend­ers in Thurs­day’s Wal­dorf Hol­i­day Hoops Clas­sic cham­pi­onship game. Hope scored 22 points in a los­ing cause as the Ea­gles fell to the Pa­tri­ots 58-54.

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