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Shorter, Gross Lead Surrattsville to Win

By Dave Yanovitz
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, March 14, 2009

CATONSVILLE, Md., March 13 -- Chanae Shorter made the paint her own personal stomping ground during the first half of Friday's Maryland 1A semifinal at UMBC's RAC Arena. The Surrattsville senior drove the lane time and again against Eastern Shore foe Pocomoke, and although not every power move resulted in points, a message was sent -- the Hornets planned to attack the basket.

Shorter's nine first-half points, combined with 10 from junior guard BreAnna Gross, helped the Hornets open up a 15-point halftime lead en route to a 51-43 victory over Pocomoke that earned them their first trip to a state championship game. The Hornets (22-3), who were stymied in the state semifinals the past two seasons, will play Digital Harbor of Baltimore on Saturday.

"If I start to drive, other players will get open," Shorter said. "We had to get [to the final]. Couldn't have been any other way."

No. 20 Surrattsville was quicker than the defending 1A champions, and while the Hornets had a trio of scoring threats in Shorter, Gross and senior forward Endia Hill, Pocomoke (25-2) relied almost entirely on senior guard Deyonna Parker (22 points).

Leading 14-9 early in the second quarter, Surrattsville went on a 13-0 run, and Pocomoke never recovered. During that six-minute span, Shorter and Gross combined for nine points.

Gross, who transferred from Washington Catholic Athletic Conference power Holy Cross, showed on one play why she can expect consideration from Division I programs next season. She blocked a Pocomoke shot under the basket, starting a fast break. She finished the play by ultimately receiving a pass and going strong down the baseline, banking in a runner for two of her team-high 16 points. Hill chipped in with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Shorter finished with 11 points, 3 steals and 6 assists and was instrumental in holding Pocomoke to 16 points below its season average. Pocomoke had only 20 points after three quarters, and scored the other 23 after the game was well out of reach.

"That's one thing we focus on, is defense -- holding a team to under their average," Surrattsville Coach Demario Newman said. "We've done an excellent job in communicating and knowing who the key players are on the other team."

The game got extremely physical in the second half. Shorter and Hill both were lying on the floor for a few minutes after hard fouls applied to each.

No. 20 Surrattsville 51 Pocomoke 43 Up Next: Surrattsville will play for the 1A championship Saturday at 6 p.m. at UMBC. The Hornets will face Digital Harbor, which beat Allegany last night. Music to Their Ears: Surrattsville brought its entire 40-piece marching band to UMBC for the game. The brass filled one entire section behind the basket and provided stirring sounds during pregame and halftime.

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