Nursing a severely sprained right ankle suffered in the first quarter, Gwynn Park's Kristen Boone was mostly silent as the second-ranked Yellow Jackets regrouped at halftime and eliminated No. 15 Urbana, 48-33, in a Maryland 3A semifinal last night at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County's RAC Arena.
Junior Markeya Watson was not.
"She was kind of down because she was hurt but we just said, 'Kristen, everything is going to be okay. We got you,' " said Watson, who scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds as the Yellow Jackets won their 18th straight game. "We weren't just going to give up because she got hurt. It was just motivation to go ahead and play harder."
After more halftime encouragement from Watson, Gwynn Park (24-1) opened the second half with a 16-4 run and cruised to its second state semifinal victory over Urbana (21-5) in as many years.
However, Boone's injury looms large for the reigning 3A champions. The talented junior point guard returned in the fourth quarter for 34 seconds when the team's backup point guard, freshman Lakia Hyson, left with a cut near her right eye. But Boone was unable to run on the injured ankle.
Gwynn Park Coach Marvin Vann said Boone's availability for Saturday's championship game is doubtful. The Yellow Jackets will play Milford Mill of Baltimore County in a rematch of last year's 3A final here at 8 p.m. The Millers (22-3) connected on 10 three-pointers en route to eliminating No. 12 Patuxent, 57-45, and advancing to their sixth straight final.
"I am going to try to rest it tonight, work on it tomorrow in practice and rest it again," Boone said. "I am going to give it a try [Saturday]."
Boone scored Gwynn Park's opening basket -- a three-pointer -- but at the 5-minute 1-second mark of the first quarter, she landed awkwardly on her right ankle while jumping to receive a pass.
With Gwynn Park's floor leader out, Urbana tied the score at 9 at the end of the quarter and took a 17-13 lead on a jump shot by senior forward Jessica Mills (11 points) with 3:12 remaining in the half.
Gwynn Park closed the quarter with an 8-2 run to take a 21-19 halftime lead. The Yellow Jackets extended their lead in second half behind the shooting of junior guard Kemena Brooks, who scored all 10 of her points in the third and fourth quarters. Sophomore forward Lakia Barber contributed a game-high 15 points and five rebounds.