Johnson leads Western girls to title, 68-49


With Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt in attendance, Dana Johnson put on a show last night.

Johnson, a 6-foot-2 center who will attend Tennessee next fall, had 25 points and 20 rebounds to lead top-ranked Western to a 68-49 victory over No. 6 Walbrook in the City-wide championship game at Poly.

"I think Dana tried to show Pat what she's going to get," Western coach Breezy Bishop said. "I was pleased with the way Dana played. Sometimes kids try to do too much with a college coach in attendance, but she stayed within the game plan."

With the victory, Western (21-1), the defending Metro Classic champion, qualified for the Metro Classic against the Catholic League champion (either Seton Keough or Archbishop Spalding) on March 3 at the Baltimore Arena. The win was Western's fourth straight over Walbrook (13-4) since the Warriors upset the Doves in the Baltimore City Public Schools Tournament championship game in 1989.

"I was just trying to play hard," said Johnson. "I wanted to get back to the Metro Classic for the team and for Miss Bishop."

The Doves, ranked No. 13 in the nation by USA Today, also got a lift from sophomore forward Kelly Evans (13 points). Evans scored 12 points in the first half and picked up the slack for sophomore forward Kisha Ford, who sat out much of the first half in foul trouble.

Ford had just two points at halftime, but scored 15 in the second half -- including 10 in the fourth quarter -- to finish with 17.

Walbrook junior center Tabitha Chambers, 6 feet 5, was also in early foul trouble. She picked up four fouls in the first half and finished with only six points.

When Chambers was out of the game, Western had the height advantage, and it showed. The Doves out-rebounded Walbrook, 21-10, in the first half and 43-23 for the game.

Trailing, 52-35, after three quarters, Walbrook outscored Western, 12-4, to begin the fourth period and pull within 56-47 with 4 minutes, 50 seconds remaining. Sophomore guard Tina Fauntleroy (20 points) scored eight in that spurt.

Walbrook went cold after that. The Warriors missed their next seven shots and did not have an offensive rebound the rest of the game.

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