Girls’ basketball: Magruder powers past Kennedy in Maryland 4A West final

Magruder forward Janel Brown took an NBA-range three-pointer with just less than two minutes remaining during Saturday’s Maryland 4A West semifinal against Kennedy, a risky play considering her team was leading by seven. After the ball missed off the back of the rim, a Cavaliers player took the long rebound to the other end. Brown met her there, and swatted the ball out of bounds.

This was a microcosm of the Colonels’ afternoon. Far from perfect on the offensive end, Magruder was flawless in effort, beating Kennedy, 47-40, in Burtonsville. The Colonels will meet the winner of Saturday night’s 4A East Region final between Old Mill and North Point in the state semifinals at Towson on Thursday at 3 p.m.

Brown finished with 10 points, and fellow post player Hannah Barr also had 10 for the Colonels (18-6), who on Saturday eclipsed their combined win total over the previous three seasons, which was 17.

“It's just crazy,” Brown said. “Right now the win feels so unreal . . . nobody has words right now.”

Magruder won with a physical style of play against the athletically gifted Cavaliers (21-4), who had stunned the 4A West favorite Whitman two nights earlier. The Colonels never trailed, and Brown scored on a pair of key back-to-back possessions late in the second quarter to stop Kennedy’s momentum and buy her team a 24-18 lead at halftime.

“It was hard to get them out of their offense,” Kennedy Coach Kevin Thompson said.

Brown added another bucket in the middle of the third quarter to push the lead to nine, but beind Makeda Wright (15 points), Kennedy wouldn’t go away. Wright’s three-point play at the end of the third quarter pulled the Cavaliers within 33-32, and Daysha Adams hit a three-pointer at the seven minute mark of the fourth quarter to tie the game at 38.

But in one of Magruder’s most spirited quarters of the season, Kennedy wouldn’t score again until the final seconds when the game was already out of reach. Barr’s layup pushed the lead to 42-38 midway through the fourth quarter, and although Magruder scored just one more field goal, it was able to control the boards and alter Kennedy’s shots in the lane, with Brown’s block providing the exclamation point.

“I just had to get back on defense and I knew I had to make up for the missed basket,” Brown said. “It felt really good.”

Roman Stubbs covers the University of Maryland athletics for The Washington Post.
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