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No. 8 Western girls start fast, pull away from No. 10 Poly, 60-52, in basketball

Physically, Western and Poly are not separated by much. On the basketball court Monday evening, though, it was a different story.

The No. 8 Doves (12-3, 8-0) raced out to an early lead, forcing visiting and tenth-ranked Poly (11-4, 7-1) to play catch-up all night in a 60-52 victory in a key Baltimore City Division I game.

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The Doves were led by Makenzie Pollard and Jasmen Walton, who scored 17 points each. Dasia Townes scored 20 points to lead the Engineers.

“We’ve been getting off to slow starts lately, and we wanted to try and change that today,” Western coach Latasha Townsend said. “I think we came out ready to play, and it showed.”

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Poly and City give Baltimore City teams a 2-0 day vs. Baltimore County's Franklin and New Town in the first day of the 22nd Annual Basketball Academy at Morgan State.

Western used the 3-pointer to their advantage early in the game. The Doves used two 3s from Pollard and another from Walton to score nine of their first 11 points and build an 11-2 lead. Poly managed to rally late in the first quarter, using a 3 from Brashae Rice to cut the lead to 12-7, but the Doves went on an 8-2 run to build the lead to 20-9 with 5:59 left in the third quarter.

“Throughout the early part of the game we worked on minimizing our mistakes,” Walton said. “We gave it all we had, and we took advantage of their mistakes.”

The Engineers used Townes’ dynamic inside game to go on a run of their own toward the end of the first half. Townes scored seven of Poly’s 13 points in a 13-5 run to end the half. The Engineers only trailed 25-22 at the break.

Western's All-Metro forward-guard Jasmen Walton learned basketball from her father and has remained connected to him through the sport since he was killed when she was 10 years old.

Poly continued to narrow the lead early in the second half, and the Engineers took their only lead, 33-32, on a 3-pointer by Townes with 4:08 left in the third quarter. The lead lasted just 29 seconds before Vashae Rideout hit a free throw to tie the game. The Doves never trailed again.

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“We knew it would be a tough competition, because they are a good team,” Pollard said. “We let them come crawling back in, and then we knew we had to get to work.”

That’s exactly what the Doves did. They outscored Poly 9-3 for the quarter and 27-19 the rest of the way to take the victory.

“We try not to look at this as a rivalry, but we do get up for this game, as do they,” Townsend said. “They spent a lot of the game playing catch-up, and I think it got the better of them in the end.”

When asked if she was holding a few things back in anticipation of another meeting in the city playoffs, Townsend said she was.

“Yes, I was playing possum a litte bit,” said Townsend. “Hey, its Poly versus Western, so there’s a good chance we’ll see them again.”

POLY — Townes 20, Ridgeway 10, Rice 3, Gross 6, Wilson 3, Robinson 4, Glenn 5, Jones 1. Totals: 16 17-35 52.

WESTERN — Pollard 17, Walton 17, Hawkins 1, Burden 4, Rideout 5, Pickens 9, Johnson 7. Totals: 22 13-23 60.

Halftime, W 25-22.

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