Girls’ basketball: Damascus fends off Poly to advance to first 3A state final

March 13

After struggling through the first half without registering a point, Lauren Green was forced to dig deep for sixth-ranked Damascus on Thursday night.

When her team entered the second half with a three-point lead, the senior stayed true to the stick-to-itiveness that the Swarmin’ Hornets have shown all season in their quest to erase last year’s 3A state semifinal loss to Aberdeen. Green turned up the offense, scoring all of her 15 points in the second half to help upend Poly (Baltimore), 49-37, at Towson in the Maryland 3A state semifinals. Damascus will play in its first state championship in school history Saturday against the winner of Milford Mill vs. Westlake.

“That loss definitely drove us from when we first began workouts on November 15,” Green said. “We wanted to be back at states and at the second game at states.”

Green was never able to find her usual touch from the outside as she shot 2-for-11 from the floor but she went 10-for-15 from the foul line.

Senior Kelli Prange proved too much inside for a much smaller Engineers team and finished with 15 points and 16 rebounds. She didn’t post any blocks, but she altered countless shot attempts as Poly shot 24.5 percent (12 for 49) from the floor. Senior Jenna Kauffman also added 12 points.


Damascus' Lauren Green (4) puts up a running shot as she drives past Poly's Maya Horne (12) during the second half. (Doug Kapustin/For The Washington Post)

“It’s all about the intensity and how bad you want it,” Prange said. “I did not want this to be my last game.”

Damascus Coach Steve Pisarski said Poly was the best rebounding team his squad had faced, and they emphasized crashing the boards in preparation for the matchup.

The Swarmin’ Hornets held a 21-18 lead at the half, but Poly switched from its 2-3 zone to a full-court man press in the third quarter. The Engineers threw different zones and man pressures at the Damascus (25-3), and senior point guard Anna Warfield was forced to decipher the different sets.

Midway through the third quarter, Warfield’s face smacked the floor on a loose ball and blood quickly fell from her nose and forehead. But she would quickly return with a bandage on her forehead and cheek.

“It could have been my last game ever, so I was coming back in no matter what,” said Warfield, who will play softball at Shippensburg next year.

Poly grabbed its first lead of the second half on jumpshot by Teira Pendleton (12 points) to make it 24-23 with 5 minutes 32 seconds left in the third.

But Damascus outscored Poly 12-5 the rest of the quarter to take a six-point advantage to the final period. Two Aneah Young free throws pulled the Engineers (25-2) within two with less than four minutes remaining in the contest, but Green scored the Swarmin’ Hornets’ next eight points to seal the victory.

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