It was difficult to distinguish whether it was tough defense or holiday rust that took center stage in the opening round of the third Journal Warhawk Classic at Madison High School yesterday.

In a matchup of previously undefeated girls teams, No. 11 Gar-Field and Archbishop Prendergast (Pa.) combined for 47 turnovers before Gar-Field pulled away, 64-46.

Another game had a lot of turnovers, but only by one team. No. 7 West Springfield (5-0) forced Chantilly (1-4) into 24 miscues in its 61-30 drubbing of the Chargers.

In other opening games, Madison, the top-ranked team in the area, defeated Paul VI, 80-37, as Jackie Freeman made four three-point shots and finished with 20 points. Oakton (2-3) had a press that was too much for Broadneck as junior center Tahira Tucker scored 14 points and had 12 rebounds in a 53-32 first-round victory.

In tonight's semifinals, Gar-Field (5-0) and West Springfield meet at 6, Madison (5-0) plays Oakton at 7:30. The championship is scheduled for Saturday at 7:45.

Only four Gar-Field players scored in its victory, but Jennifer Linthicum had a career-high 29 points, including 21 in the second half. Teammate Charleata Beale finished with 28.

The lead was never larger than six for either team until the fourth quarter, when Prendergast's leading scorer and best ballhandler, Michelle Thornton, fouled out with about seven minutes left.

Without Thornton, the Lady Pandas (6-1) had trouble bringing the ball up against Gar-Field's full-court press.

Linthicum and Beale scored all but one of Gar-Field's 22 fourth-quarter points.

Chantilly gave the ball back to West Springfield on its first five possessions and didn't get a shot off until 4:44 remained in the first quarter.

The only thing keeping the Chargers in the game was West Springfield's poor shooting. The Spartans were four for 16 from the floor in taking an 11-4 first-quarter lead.

"I told the girls if we played real well, realistically, {Chantilly} shouldn't be in the game," said West Springfield Coach Bill Gibson.

In Madison's victory, Freeman also had nine steals and eight assists. The Warhawks, who raced to a 48-16 halftime lead, got 16 points and 13 rebounds from Renee Jackson.