CATONSVILLE, Md. — After an 11-point fourth-quarter lead was whittled down to two with nearly two minutes left in a Maryland 4A girls’ basketball semifinal against seventh-ranked North Point on Thursday, sixth-ranked Wise needed a lift.
Not surprisingly, it was Eliqua Brooks who provided one. The standout senior guard, who has been on a torrid scoring pace in the playoffs, made key plays and finished with a game-high 30 points to help propel the Pumas to a 64-62 win at UMBC’s RAC Arena.
The first semifinal was a back and forth game that fittingly came down to the final possessions. With her team leading 59-57, Brooks received a pass from teammate Khadijah Gibson, made a layup and then immediately notched her fourth steal of the game, hitting 1 of 2 free throws after she drew a foul.
“We all wanted this and I felt like we needed a stop because they was outhustling us,” Brooks said.
North Point senior guard Diana Logan (21 points) then knocked down a three-pointer with 31 seconds left to pull the Eagles within one possesion of the Pumas, 62-60. After Gibson added a layup and then Wise missed two free throws late, North Point (23-2) had its chance.
A fastbreak layup by sophomore forward Khalia Prather trimmed North Point’s deficit to 64-62 with 16.5 seconds left. But a defensive stop by Wise’s Carolyn Cosey prevented a surging North Point breakaway layup.
“It was everything because [North Point] was going,” Wise Coach Walter Clark said.
●GAITHERSBURG 47, POLY 30: The third-ranked Trojans didn’t showcase their best offense in their third straight state tournament appearance, but they turned up the intensity on defense and cruised past previously unbeaten Poly for their 51st consecutive win in the second Maryland 4A semifinal. Senior guard Colleen Marshall helped the defending state champions push through 26 turnovers and an early cold-shooting spell with a game-high 26 points.
The Engineers (23-1) never solved Gaithersburg’s trapping zone defense, shooting 24 percent for the game with 20 turnovers. The Trojans (26-0) trailed for just 37 seconds early on and pulled away in the third quarter, easily advancing to their third straight state title game.
“We practiced playing against their offense the past three days,” Marshall said. “We kind of knew what they were coming with, and we knew how to adjust to it.”
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