Girls hoops teams move on to sec­tion fi­nals

West­lake girls surge to win over Calvert

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By ANDY STATES as­tates@somd­

For a quar­ter in Mon­day night’s Class 2A South Re­gion Sec­tion II girls bas­ket­ball semi­fi­nal at West­lake, it ap­peared as though the Wolver­ines and the vis­it­ing Calvert Cava­liers were des­tined for a dra­matic fin­ish.

That feel­ing only lasted for a quar­ter.

The sec­ond-seeded Wolver­ines, who led by a mere point af­ter the first pe­riod, opened the sec­ond on a six-point run and never looked back in what turned out a 72-50 win over the third-seed- ed Cava­liers.

West­lake (15-8 over­all) ad­vanced to play in the sec­tion fi­nal at Thomas Stone a 6 p.m. Wednes- day. The top-seeded Cougars ousted fourth-seeded Lackey 69-53 in an­other sec­tion semifi- nal Mon­day.

On Mon­day, West­lake scored 20 points in each of the sec­ond, third and fourth quar­ters and had a pair of play­ers — Gigi Brown and LaTavia Wash­ing­ton — eclipse 20 points, while Jas­mine Ghol­son scored 16. All in all, it turned into a rela- tively solid ef­fort af­ter a slug­gish start.

“The first half we came out flat. Calvert did a good job keep­ing us out of rhythm,” West­lake head coach Marvin Bin­ion II said. “We couldn’t get in a rhythm. In the sec­ond half we picked it up. We had more en­ergy, the ef­fort was there. In the first half Calvert re­ally killed us on the boards. In the sec­ond half we did a bet­ter job.”

Ahead 12-11 af­ter a quar­ter, Brown scored five points on a 6-0 West- lake run to open the pe­riod to crack open the ad­van­tage. Later, af­ter Calvert had pulled to within 20-16, the Wolver- ines reeled off a 12-2 run to push the lead into dou­ble fig­ures.

With the lead at 32-22 at the half, Wash­ing­ton scored the first bas­ket of the sec­ond half to kick­start what be­came a 15-point run by the hosts to start the half. By the time Wash­ing­ton book­ended the run with an­other bucket, the Wol- ver­ines led 47-22 with 5 min­utes 1 sec­ond left in the quar­ter.

“I think we fi­nally found our heart,” Brown said of the dif­fer­ence in the team’s per­for­mance af­ter the open­ing quar­ter. “We didn’t want to go out. We wanted to keep go­ing.”

Calvert (14-9) fi­nally scored its first bas­ket of the sec­ond half when Alexis Com­modore got a shot to drop at the 4:48 mark. It was the start of an 8-0 Cava­liers’ run that cut the deficit to 17 points.

Calvert even­tual- ly pulled to within 15 points on Mya Smith’s three-pointer early in the fourth quar­ter, but it could never cut the gap down to sin­gle dig­its. West­lake’s press suc- ceeded in cre­at­ing many turnovers and easy bas- kets, al­low­ing the Wol- ver­ines to coast to the com­fort­able win.

“I think we started out slow in the first quar­ter,” Ghol­son said. “We picked it up even­tu­ally through­out the game. We got the re­bounds we needed to­wards the end and put more pres­sure on their of­fense with our de­fense.

“We got our runs off of our de­fense . ... We got them down to a lot of turn- overs and we cap­i­tal­ized on the fast breaks and just played our game.”

Jalaysia Weems led the Cava­liers with 16 points. Smith scored 8, while Tatyana Jones, Deny­cia Bess and Com­modore all scored 7. But sim­i­lar to the sea­son on the whole, the Cava­liers strug­gled to main­tain a con­sis­tent ef­fort on Mon­day night, ac­cord­ing to Calvert head coach Tim Con­tee.

“I think tonight was kind of like our sea­son, full of ups and downs,” he said. “We played well in spurts, and then not so well in spurts. It would be like the best we could be in spurts, and then the low- est of the lows. That’s just how our sea­son has been, up and down. We just ha- ven’t been con­sis­tent the whole sea­son with our en- ergy and ef­fort. I felt like we were maybe a step be­hind tonight.”

West­lake’s win earned it an­other crack at crosstown ri­val Stone. The Cougars de­feated West­lake in both of the teams’ reg­u­lar sea­son meet­ings, the first a 62-51 de­ci­sion on Jan. 6 and the sec­ond a 61-51 game on Feb. 1. Bin­ion ex­pected the third meet­ing to be ev­ery bit as com­pet­i­tive as the first two.

“We have to come ready,” he said. “It’s go­ing to be a tough one. Ev­ery time we play them it’s al­ways tough. I ex­pect the third one to be even more in­tense be­cause of what’s at stake.”

STAFF PHOTO BY ANDY STATES West­lake’s girls bas­ket­ball team comes to­gether prior to its Class 2A South Re­gion Sec­tion I semi­fi­nal with the vis­it­ing Calvert Cava­liers on Mon­day night. West­lake de­feated Calvert 72-50.

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