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Southern's girls basketball team matched an impressive first-quarteragainst visiting Broadneck last night with an equally unimpressive third period that cost it a 40-36 Bay Division loss.

Southern led, 14-8, after the first quarter, with 5-foot-11 Laekeka Wesley scoring 10 of her game-high 18 points.

The sophomore center sparked the Bulldogs to leads of 7-0 and 11-2 before the Bruins offense got going on two points each from Jen Chapman (eight points, 13 boards), Sarah Bannat (seven points, two rebounds), Michelle Meyer (13 points) and Nikki Green.

But the Bulldogs, who led 24-21 at the half, were undone by cold shooting in the third period and a defensive switch by Bruins coach Bruce Springer, as his squad outscored Southern, 13-1, in the quarter to take a 34-25 leadinto the final period.

Bannat, who scored a team-high 14 points in Monday's 52-21 rout of Queen Anne's, sacrificed offense to out-muscle the thinner Wesley with in-your-shirt defense.

"We thought Sarah would be quick enough to deny her the ball and that would leave Jenfree," said Broadneck coach Bruce Springer, whose 17-3 Bruins improved to 9-1 in the Bay Division. Southern (12-9 overall) dropped to 7-4.

"We tried to be a little more patient on offense. I thought we had good offensive intensity, passing the ball and finding the open people."

With the victory, the Bruins, ranked No. 7 in The BaltimoreSun poll, further solidified their playoff position behind first-place Old Mill in the Class 4A Region IV standings.

Southern (a 4.66 average) entered the game in third place in Class 2A Region III, behind Northeast (4.77) and ahead of Fairmont Heights (4.61) of Prince George's County.

"We came out low in the first quarter; we weren't playing like a team," said Bannat. "But coach had a little talk with us, and we got our intensity back."

In the second quarter, consecutive baskets from Kim Smith gave the Bulldogs their biggest lead, 18-10. They led, 20-12, moments later after Wesley raised her scoring total to 12 points.

But Broadneck began to slow the Bulldogs' transition and closed to within 22-21 on consecutive baskets from Missy Lewandowski, Chapman and Meyer, and an Ava Tasker jumper with 22 seconds left in the half. Southern's Barnett nailed a jumper for the halftimemargin.

"Two things I said that we had to do in the second half was attack the ball against their press and push the ball offensively," said Southern coach Linda Kilpatrick. "We didn't do that, and that's what did it to us."

Broadneck began the third period with a 9-0 run, getting its first lead on a Meyer bucket with 6:45 left, 25-24. Tasker's three-pointer with 3:55 remaining stretched the lead to 28-24, and it was 30-24 after Meyer's layup.

Smith's free throw that made it 30-25 was the Bulldogs' only point of the period, and Chapman's consecutive put-backs ended the stanza.

"I think when they started playing man-to-man, we were able to pass around it," Chapman said."That started opening things up inside."

In the final period, Wesley sandwiched six points around two points from Bannat to bring the Bulldogs to within 36-31, and Southern called a timeout with 1:26 remaining, but to no avail.

The Bulldogs lost possession on a jump ball with 1:18 left, and Meyer went to the free-throw line 10 seconds later, converting both shots for a 38-31 lead. One free throw each from Bannat and Meyer countered two points from Leketia Mullin and a Lindee Sisk three-pointer.

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