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Howard girls basketball cruises past Parkdale into 4A state semifinals

Top-seeded Howard looked every bit like a team on a mission Friday in the 4A state quarterfinals against visiting Parkdale.

The Lions hit five first-quarter 3-pointers and raced out to a 25-1 lead by the end of the period, setting the stage for a convincing 56-17 win over the Panthers. The victory advances Howard (25-0) into a state semifinal matchup against Western (20-3) next Thursday, marking the program’s first final four appearance since 2011.

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“They have honestly been dialed in all year, regardless of who the opponent is, and tonight was no different,” Howard coach Scott Robinson said. “We knew the game plan and we executed it. When we shoot like that, this is truly a special team.”

Highlights from Howard's 56-17 victory over Parkdale in the 4A state quarterfinals on Friday, March 6, 2020.

Camille Malagar, who scored all of her team-high 11 points in the first quarter, hit a 3-pointer on the first possession of the game for Howard. From there, the rout was on.

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Malagar hit two more threes, Emily Durkee (8 points) added two shots from beyond the arc of her own, and the Lions shot over 75 percent from the floor during those first eight minutes.

“In this kind of one-and-done scenario, we’ve learned not to take any game for granted and we brought that energy right from the start,” Malagar said. “Our chemistry really showed. We were moving the ball, getting open shots for one another and everyone did their part.”

Parkdale (8-12) didn’t get on the scoreboard until a free throw by Ranaya Thomas (5 points) with 2:01 remaining in the first quarter. The team’s first field goal — a layup by Shaniya Blake — wasn’t until just over six minutes were left in the first half.

And Howard responded after that with another 11-0 push behind baskets from Gabby Scott (11 points), Anii Harris (8) and Marisa Sanchez-Henry (7), pushing the lead up over 30 points for the first time. The Lions’ advantage was 43-11 at the half and a running clock began early in the third quarter, followed shortly after by all the team’s starters being pulled from the game.

Afterward, after choosing to have a somewhat muted celebration following the team’s win over Old Mill for the 4A East Region I championship, Howard pulled out the ladder and each member of the team helped cut down the net.

“Even though the new title says region champions after our last game, this is the game we’ve been to twice before and lost to Catonsville. So I really wanted this for them,” Robinson said. “This means so much, especially for our seniors who were on that team as freshman that lost and now get a chance to experience this.”

Up next is Western, which knocked the Lions out of last year’s playoffs in the region semifinals. Robinson knows the difficult task ahead that awaits his players, but for one night the focus was on the present.

“They are a great team, we know that, but we are going to enjoy this tonight before starting to focus on Western tomorrow,” he said. “I want the girls to take a moment to celebrate … they deserve it.”

Howard 56, Parkdale 17

Ho (25-0): Malagar 11, Scott 11, Durkee 8, Harris 8, Sanchez-Henry 7, Kennerly 6, Nasir 4, Coleman 1.

P (8-12): Thomas 5, Blake 4, Beasley 3, Michael 3, Aguilar 2.

Half: 43-11 Ho.

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