Great Mills girls basketball Coach Brian Weisner did not see the play that gave his team a three-point lead late in the fourth quarter, but he'll never forget it.

With the Hornets clinging to a one-point lead against Leonardtown in the opening round of the Southern Maryland Holiday Classic, junior guard Keisha Box stole an inbounds pass and fed junior forward Sylvia Thomas for what proved to be the winning basket in a 38-37 win over the Raiders Tuesday night at Leonardtown High School.

Great Mills (3-2) advanced to yesterday's championship against Walter Johnson, which defeated Chopticon in the first game of the tournament, 60-58. Great Mills's boys team also advanced to yesterday's final, with a 38-19 win over Leonardtown. Walter Johnson defeated Chopticon, 53-42, in the first boys game Tuesday.

"I don't know who stole the pass" that led to the winning basket, said Weisner, whose team trailed, 35-32, with 2 minutes 25 seconds left in the game. "It was either Keisha or Sylvia because they were both up. I thought it was Sylvia, and she went right up with it, but I don't know. All I know is that we won and I'm very happy."

Great Mills led, 21-8, at halftime after scoring the first 15 points of the second quarter. Junior center LaToya Hopkins, who finished with 10 rebounds, scored nine of her team-high 13 points in the first half for Great Mills.

"When LaToya plays to her potential, she does a good job," Weisner said. "She can shoot from anywhere, she rebounds, and she has good moves in the post. She's a complete player."

After hitting three of 22 shots in the first half, Leonardtown came to life in the third quarter. Led by junior guard Lizzy Jenny, who scored 11 of her game-high 14 points in the third quarter, the Raiders outscored Great Mills, 17-7, and trailed, 28-25, after three quarters.

Leonardtown (1-4) went on a 9-0 run to take a 34-28 lead with 3:43 left. But, led by Hopkins and senior guard LaToya Sewell, Great Mills scored 10 of the next 11 points, including a jumper by Box that gave the Hornets a one-point lead with 1:19 left. Seconds later, Box stole the inbound pass and fed Thomas for the winning basket.

"It's always great to beat Leonardtown," said Thomas, who had six rebounds and five steals. "They're one of our biggest rivals. . . . We didn't play well in the second half, but we pulled it out when we needed to."

The Great Mills boys remained undefeated at 5-0 with a relatively easy victory. The key stretch came in the fourth quarter, when a 10-2 run increased the Hornets' lead from nine points to 17.

"We didn't want to run with them, so we tried to slow it down and control the tempo," said Leonardtown Coach Glen Larnerd, whose team lost to Great Mills by 42 points in the final of Leonardtown's tip-off tournament earlier in the month. "They out-size us, out-quick us and when they do that, they're going to out-rebound us. They're just a better team. . . . We did a good job. But we didn't hit enough shots."


Great Mills (3-2)--Hopkins 6 0-0 13, Thomas 3 0-2 6, Sewell 4 0-2 8, Box 4 0-2 8, English 1 0-0 3, Raley 0 0-1 0. Totals 18 0-7 38.

Leonardtown (1-4)--Johnson 4 4-6 12, Jenny 4 6-14 14, Bushway 1 4-5 6, Schumacher 2 0-0 4, Stachelczyk 0 1-2 1. Totals 11 15-27 37.

Halftime: Great Mills, 21-8.

Three-point goals: Great Mills 2 (Hopkins, English).


Great Mills (5-0)--Winegrad 1 0-0 2, Saunders 4 0-0 9, Porter 1 0-0 2, Jenkins 1 0-0 2, Somerville 5 0-2 10, Hoyt 5 1-2 11, Dukes 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 1-4 38.

Leonardtown (1-4)--Raley 0 1-2 1, Cutchember 4 4-7 12, Hebb 1 0-0 2, Johnson 2 0-0 4. Totals 7 5-9 19.

Halftime: Great Mills, 19-8.

Three-point goals: Great Mills 1 (Saunders).