After losing in the semifinals last year, No. 12-ranked Towson is no longer happy just to be in the state tournament. The Generals want to win, and they get their chance today.
Last night, the Generals played excellent team defense and shot 56 percent from the field en route to a 69-56 victory over Prince George's County's Potomac in a Class 2A semifinal at UMBC.
Four seniors led the way -- Sara Lev with 24 points, Jaimee Reynolds with 17 points and 10 rebounds, Julie Ramer with 10 points and Leslie Hunt with a solid defensive performance.
"We've been together since we were 8," said Reynolds, "and this is going to be our last time playing together ever, so we're just going to go out with a bang."
The Generals (22-3) will meet Middletown for the championship at 1 p.m. today at UMBC. The Knights (26-1) defeated Southern-Anne Arundel, 62-56, in yesterday's other semifinal.
Combined with Milford Mill's Class 3A semifinal victory Thursday night, this marks the first time in 14 years and only the second time in the 26-year history of the girls state tournament that Baltimore County has had two finalists. Dulaney provided the county's last title in 1988.
For the Generals to win, they simply will have to play more of the same team basketball that carried them into the final.
"We really were thinking the entire game," said Lev. "We knew an opening would arise if we waited for it. We were patient, and we played our game. We didn't let them run and gun. We knew they like to fast-break every time."
The Braves (13-12) preferred an up-tempo game, but their defense wasn't strong enough to keep them running. Potomac coach Kathy Fehr said she opted for zone defenses to rest the Braves on UMBC's long court, but her team didn't execute well enough.
In the fourth quarter, Fehr put on a zone press to try to make up a 49-39 deficit, but the Generals sliced right through it. Fehr then tried several other strategies, but they didn't work either.
Nine of Towson's 10 fourth-quarter baskets came in the paint -- four of them from Lev, who shot 5-for-6 from the field in the quarter and 11-for-14 for the game.
"They kept switching up their defenses and that might have been a disadvantage for them," said Lev, "because we adjust really well. We've learned to be patient, and we play a lot of teams that play a lot of different defenses. I think all the switching took them out of their rhythm for a while."
The Braves, who got 29 points from sophomore guard KiShanna Wimbush, pulled within four points several times in the second half, but the Generals snuffed every rally.
Lev scored 10 and Reynolds added eight in the fourth quarter, while junior Lindsay Buchanan had three of her six assists.
TOWSON -- Je. Ramer 5, Lev 24, Buchanan 8, Reynolds 17, Martin 3, Hunt 2; Ju. Ramer 10. Totals: 29 6-12 69.
POTOMAC -- Murray 2, Holloman 2, Wimbush 29, Wilson 10, Clay 11, Brown 2. Totals: 24 7-11 56. Half: T 35-27.
Pub Date: 3/14/98