By From Staff Reports
Thursday, March 4, 2010; D08
At the end of regulation of their Maryland 4A East region semifinal Wednesday night, the Arundel Wildcats appeared to grow a little taller, a little more composed and a little more certain that this was their game. Overtime was what they fought for when North Point played for the last shot -- a jumper that fell a half-foot short of the basket -- and there would be no mistakes now.
Four Wildcats -- Talen Watson, Sheronne Vails, Briana McKellery and Ariel Ross -- scored at least a point in those four extra minutes. But it was Arundel's defense that helped clinch a 74-69 victory; the Wildcats limited North Point to perimeter shots and held it scoreless for just more than three minutes in the extra frame.
No. 12 Arundel (20-4) will face No. 14 Meade, which defeated Old Mill, 69-44, for the region title on Friday.
"We knew we had to step up our defense," said Aleisha Henderson, a senior guard who recorded 17 points. "If we were going to win this game, we needed to keep pressing the ball and find a way to limit their ability to get inside."
Led by VCU-bound Robyn Parks, who recorded 14 of her game-high 35 points in the third quarter, the Eagles (19-4) erased a 34-22 halftime deficit to take a 49-44 lead into the fourth. But the Wildcats negated North Point's brilliant comeback with one of their own in the fourth quarter.
During a five-minute stretch that began with 46 seconds left in the third, Henderson recorded four three-pointers and 14 points. The 5-foot-3 guard repeatedly skirted the North Point defenders for open shots and her final three-point shot tied the score at 57.
"A lot of teams are used to seeing one pure shooter, and we have two pure shooters who can knock down threes at any time," said Watson, who recorded 13 points and was 9 for 12 from the free throw line. "It's hard for people to defend -- they don't know if they should play zone [defense], 2-3 or man-to-man, and it works well for us."
Henderson's success helped draw the North Point defenders out, giving Watson time to weave for space and draw multiple fouls, giving Arundel its first lead of the quarter. The teams traded baskets with Vails recording the final field goal of regulation with 33 seconds remaining that tied the game at 65.
-- GAITHERSBURG 51, PAINT BRANCH 48 (OT): Kara Marshall scored a team-high 17 points to help the Trojans (21-3) upset ninth-ranked Paint Branch (22-2) in a 4A West region semifinal. Junior guard Brene Moseley had 23 points for the Panthers, who lost for the second time in four games. Gaithersburg will meet Whitman (19-4) in the region final. The Vikings beat Churchill, 65-45.
-- SENECA VALLEY 75, FREDERICK 70: Senior guard Kelsey Wolfe (Virginia) scored a season-high 41 points to lead No. 5 Seneca Valley (24-0) to victory in a 3A West region semifinal. The top-seeded Screaming Eagles, whose only trip to the state tournament came in 1978, will host Blake in the region final.
The Bengals (19-5) have won five consecutive games.