Highlights of City-New Town and Poly-Franklin girls at the Basketball Academy Jan. 11, 2018. (Katherine Dunn, Baltimore Sun video)
The No. 6 Western girls basketball team showed its speed, quickness and depth in the first quarter, running up a 13-point lead en route to a 62-34 win over Franklin at the 22nd annual Baltimore City Public Schools Basketball Academy at Morgan State’s Hill Field House on Saturday.
“Our game plan was to run then and get the game over with kind of quick,” said senior Jasmen Walton, who led the Doves with 16 points.
Walton hit a 3-pointer to open the game and the Doves (8-1) were off, running their lead to 19 on Mackenzie Pollard’s 16-foot jumper midway through the second quarter.
The Indians (4-5) cut the lead to 27-17 with a nine-point run capped by Ayana Booze’s layup off a steal with 1:41 left in the second quarter. But Walton answered with a 3-pointer to spark a six-point Doves run that helped push the lead to 41-23 by the end of the third quarter.
Playing at least 10 girls every quarter, the Doves wear teams down. While the Indians closed the gap at times and held their own through the middle of the game, Western finished with a 13-2 run.
Still, Franklin coach Denikwa James, who also got 10 points from Dominique Doss, found a lot to be pleased with.
“I think we did a much better job playing than we did on Thursday,” said James, whose team fell to No. 13 Poly, 55-28, in their first Basketball Academy game. “I saw a lot of improvement and because this is our girls’ first experience [at the Basketball Academy], I think they were a little nervous during the first game and I think they saw a lot of potential in themselves, and they stepped up and played much better today.”
Nine players scored for the Doves, who also got nine points from Destiny Johnson.
At the three-day Academy, the Doves and No. 13 Poly led the Baltimore City girls teams to a 5-1 record over those located in Baltimore County. The Doves and Engineers — who defeated New Town, 58-13, on Saturday — won twice while City split, falling to Mount Carmel, 49-40, on the final day.
Poly (7-1) had little trouble against ailing New Town, pressuring the Titans into 43 turnovers. Between illness and injury, the Titans guards have been sidelined, leaving the ballhandling to players not used to bringing the ball through full-court pressure.
The Titans (5-5) had the advantage inside, but that only showed on the defensive end, where they altered a lot of the Engineers’ shots. On offense, without guards to get the ball up and feed the inside players, New Town’s significant height advantage didn’t help.
The Engineers ran their lead to 23-4 early in the second quarter and extended it to 43-9 midway through the third quarter. Nine Engineers scored, led by Janya Lilly with 12 points. Caché Wilson, Jada Gross and Dynajah Glenn added nine points each.
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Ajae Petty led New Town with six points.
Mount Carmel, an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference team from Essex, spoiled the city teams’ attempt to sweep the Academy games by defeating City in the only close girls game.
The Cougars (6-9) jumped out to a 14-3 lead on the Knights, led by ArianaAlleyne, who scored seven of her 20 points in the opening quarter.
The Knights (6-3) chipped away at the lead and tied the game at 28 early in the fourth quarter. An 11-1 run that began in the middle of the third quarter and ended with four straight City free throws — two from Raquel Nicholson and two from Jaida Ford — evened the game for the first time with 7:17 remaining. Nicholson, who finished with 14 points, also hit one of her three 3-pointers in the run.
The teams then traded runs as Mount Carmel scored eight straight to take a 36-28 lead with 4:28 to go. The Knights answered with a seven-point run to pull within 36-35 on Mya Henson’s free throw with 2:55 left.
Alleyne ended City’s momentum with a free throw and Jaylah Lewis added two more. Ford then hit a free throw and City teammate JanajahHardison added a follow shot to cut the Cougars’ lead to one again, 39-38.
Ayana Brim scored for the Cougars with 1:16 to go, but that would be their final basket. They finished a 10-2 run to end the game with eight free throws, including four from Alleyne.
The two teams combined to shoot 70 free throws and more than 50 percent of each team’s second-half points came from the three-throw line. The Cougars were 24-for-45 from the line.