Slow start foils Western in 51-34 loss


The Western girls basketball team was off the mark on offense in the first quarter last night, and its aim didn't get much better in the second quarter.

A 10-minute span without a point in the first half was too much to overcome against a big and talented Good Counsel team, so the No. 2 Doves settled for second place in St. Frances' Panther Invitational following a 51-34 loss in the championship game.

Coming off an exciting 46-45 overtime win against host St. Frances in Wednesday's semifinal round, the Doves came out sluggish last night, and the Falcons took full advantage.

With strong inside play and balanced scoring, Good Counsel (11-1) jumped out to a 16-4 lead after one quarter and had a 27-10 advantage at the half.

The Doves (6-3) went 3-for-37 in those 16 minutes, missing 21 straight shots at one point while the Falcons built the overwhelming advantage.

"I think there was some lag from [Wednesday's win] and I also thought we took too many jump shots. We do shoot really well, but I thought we settled for things instead of letting them come," said Western coach Donchez Graham.

Finding a positive wasn't difficult for Graham, however, who watched his team pick up its play in the second half with a stronger defensive effort and better shot selection.

When Nicole Matthews scored inside off a feed from Lavon Woods, the Doves had the lead down to 41-30 with 4:25 left in the fourth quarter. But they were never able to get it down to single digits with six Good Counsel players scoring six or more points.

Graham said it was a good lesson learned.

"The difference in the whole game was Good Counsel knew they would win and we thought we could win. Once we get that out of the way, we'll be straight. I'm still proud of them," he said.

Zhondria Benn scored nine points to lead the Doves, and Woods finished with seven.

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