LARGO – In 2014, the Largo girls’ basketball team lost to Calvert in the 2A South Region Championship game. Last season, the Lions lost to Oakland Mills. The third time turned out to be the charm, as Largo finally secured a win in the regional championship game on March 5. The Largo Lions (16-5) pulled […]
LARGO – In 2014, the Largo girls’ basketball team lost to Calvert in the 2A South Region Championship game.
Last season, the Lions lost to Oakland Mills.
The third time turned out to be the charm, as Largo finally secured a win in the regional championship game on March 5.
The Largo Lions (16-5) pulled out a 64-50 victory over the Westlake Wolverines (15-9) in the MPSSAA 2A South Region Championship game, but not without moments of struggle.
“I just told them they have to run our game plan and they did it,” said Largo Head Coach Ayana Ball-Ward.
Led by senior forward Nialla Curtis, the Wolverines were up 13-8 as the final minute of the first quarter descended. Scoring eight of the Wolverines’ 15 points in the first quarter, Curtis gave her team the confidence they needed going forward.
Westlake Head Coach Marvin Binion had nothing but praise for his team’s effort in the first half.
“We moved the ball like we were supposed to, and attacked the basket. We also played great defense,” Binion said.
It was then that Largo senior forward Chance Graham made her presence known on both ends of the floor. Ending the first quarter with two huge blocks, Graham, who averaged 19.1 points-per-game this season, let Ball-Ward know that her team still had plenty of time left to make something happen.
“There was still a lot of time left,” Ball-Ward said. “The second, third and fourth quarters really make the game, especially the fourth quarter. My kids showed up in the fourth quarter, so that is all that matters.”
After trailing by five in the first quarter, Largo dictated the pace for the remainder of play.
With five minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Lions notched their largest lead of the game at 31-21. Easing up off their 1-2-2 full-court press, the Lions eventually dropped back and mixed up their defenses with a 2-3 zone and a man-to-man set.
“I think our zone defense was the best and attacking the basket won it for us,” Ball-Ward said.
Curtis’ foul trouble posed an issue for Westlake in the second half, depleting the Wolverines’ effort on both ends of the court.
“The turning point came once Curtis got into foul trouble. We couldn’t get going again,” Binion said. “For some reason, we just stopped boxing out and had way too many turnovers.”
Westlake trailed by only six points heading into the fourth quarter. However, the Lions continued their game plan offensively and defensively. Graham and senior point guard Stephanie Guihon’s play on both ends assured the Lions the hard fought victory.
“I felt as though in the first half I really slacked a lot,” Graham said. “However, in the second half, I really picked up my play and I helped my team win.
“We just need to get in the gym and practice our free throws and attack the basket. I told my point guard (Guihon) nobody can check her and I think that got her going.”
Guihon finished with a game-high of 20 points and five steals. Graham dominated in the win as well, putting up 17 points, 22 rebounds and three blocks.
“For these girls, it means the world to them to get past this point and accomplish something,” Ball-Ward said of her team’s regional final victory.
The Lions will head to the SECU Arena at Towson University on March 11 to go up against the 2A North Region champions, New Town. Both teams will battle it out to decide who goes to the state championship game on March 12.