Johnson leads Western to 72-37 romp

Western coach Breezy Bishop clutched the gold "53" hanging from the necklace lent to her by senior center Dana Johnson, who wears that number on her jersey.

"Dana is the best athlete Western has ever had," said Bishop. "She has been a tremendous player, and I will never forget her."


Johnson, 6-2, ended her high-school career with a 23-point, 22-rebound performance, to lead the top-ranked Doves (25-1) to a 72-37 rout of No. 5 Seton Keough (18-5) in the girls portion of the Metro Classic at the Baltimore Arena last night.

Johnson said she lends the necklace to Bishop before every game.


"I'm trying to give her back some of what she has given to me. That necklace is a part of me," said Johnson, who was named the Metro Classic MVP for the second straight year. "The main thing for me is that we win for Miss Bishop. She has done so much for me as a person and a player, and she deserves everything she gets."

Johnson's strong play inside was complemented by the outside game of sophomore Kisha Ford. Ford, who Bishop said did not start for disciplinary reasons, scored 21 and was the key to Western's transition game.

"Kisha responded well off the bench and played with control," said Bishop. "She has the tools to become the best player in the state."

Johnson -- who will attend Tennessee next fall -- and Ford accounted for all of Western's points in the first quarter, as the Doves built a 14-8 lead. Western began the second quarter with a 14-1 run to take a 28-9 lead with 5 minutes, 8 seconds remaining, and extended its lead to 40-19 at halftime. The Doves led by at least 17 throughout the second half.

Western, which defeated Seton Keough, 55-43, in last year's Metro Classic, has won five Metro Classic titles in the game's nine-year history.

"We had hoped to keep it close, but we really don't match up well with them this year," said Seton Keough coach Trish Cook, whose team was led by senior forward Melissa Cuneo (16 points). "Last year we had a chance, but it would have taken a miracle to upset them this time."

It was the final game for Cook, who had announced her retirement at the beginning of the season after 17 years at Archbishop Keough and Seton Keough.