Joppatowne coach Lynette Shelley's ears probably are still ringing from the piercing sound of the referee's whistle.
It seemed as if her team's fortunes gradually disintegrated each time the whistle rang out to signal a foul last night.
By halftime, three Joppatowne starters had four fouls -- including leading scorer and rebounder Brandi Barnes -- and another had three.
Southern-Garrett took advantage of the situation with a 27-point third quarter en route to a 74-38 rout of the Mariners in a Class 1A state semifinal at UMBC.
The Rams (19-5), who were led by Emily Friend's 24 points, advance to today's championship game at 1 p.m. against Wilde Lake.
Barnes (10 points), a 6-foot-2 junior who entered the game averaging 20.0 points and 19.1 rebounds, fouled out with 6:37 remaining in the third quarter.
Overall, Joppatowne, which started four players over 5-9 (including two 6-footers), committed 24 personal fouls to Southern's 14. The Rams converted 22 of 37 free throws, and the Mariners were 4-for-12 from the line.
"I was real concerned about their height," said Southern coach Don Stemple, who had only one player over 5-6 (Friend, 5-10). "Barnes is more mobile than she was last year, and they look to her more. Obviously, had she played the whole game, we would not have won by such a wide margin."
Joppatowne's 5-9 senior guard Erica Adams also was in foul trouble. She finished with six points, nearly 11 below her average.
Things had begun well for the Mariners (17-6), who raced to an 8-0 lead. Joppatowne, which defeated Southern 53-50 in last season's semifinals, made five of its first six shots from the field and eight of 11.
But Southern settled down and eventually pulled within 16-12 on the first of two free throws by Meghan Dabney (12 points).
On Dabney's second foul shot, Barnes omitted her third foul while going for the rebound.
The Mariners, who were led by Keya Atkins' 16 points, maintained a 16-14 lead after the first period before a disastrous second quarter.
Southern opened the quarter on a 12-0 run as Joppatowne committed turnovers on its first 10 possessions. The Mariners had 14 turnovers in the period and were 3-for-11 from the field and 0-for-3 from the line.
In the midst of Southern's run, Shelley sent Barnes back into the game with three fouls.
Shelley's gamble backfired, as Barnes picked up her fourth foul away from the ball with 1:58 left in the first half and Joppatowne trailing, 26-20.
"I hesitated to put her in, but she has played with three fouls before," Shelley said. "I felt as if the game was getting away from us."
After Barnes' fourth foul, it did.
Southern extended its lead to 32-22 at halftime and put the game out of reach with 13-for-17 shooting from the field in the third quarter.