- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
BALTIMORE Thursday afternoon at the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s RAC Arena, North Point had its hands full with Dr. Henry A. Wise of Prince George’s County in the Class 4A state semifinals.
With four minutes to go in the fourth quarter, the two-time 4A East Region champion Eagles trailed Wise by 11 points but cut the deficit to two points two minutes later.
Though senior guard Diana Logan scored 13 of her team-high 21 points in the fourth, it wasn’t enough as North Point fell in heartbreaking fashion, 64-62
It was the second straight season that the Eagles fell in the state semifinal round.
“We had an incredible season, I’m incredibly happy with my team,” Logan said. “We played well together and we played with team chemistry. I wish we could’ve made it to the state championship, but I’m proud of our girls, we did the best we could.”
Wise (24-1 overall) received a huge spark from senior guard Eliqua Brooks, who made big plays down the stretch to notch a game-high 30 points, scoring 20 in the second half. Her senior teammate Khadijah Gibson added 18 points, scoring 16 of those in the second half.
“My teammates helped me and we really wanted to get back to the championship,” said Brooks, who had four threes. “I give a big credit to [freshman] Ciara Lee for getting a lot of rebounds. In the end we were able to pull it out it felt good.”
Wise snapped the Eagles and head coach Michael Serpone’s 17-game win streak.
“The game plan was to zone Wise up, you’re not going to beat them if they get out in transition,” Serpone said. “Their guards are lighting fast, but we could of contested shots a little better.”
Wise advanced to its second straight state final on Saturday afternoon versus Gaithersburg of Montgomery County, which was a rematch from last year’s championship, where it lost to the Trojans.
“I’m happy for this group because we got better,” Wise head coach Walter Clark said. “I never envisioned this group coming back to this point, so I’m fairly surprised. That was a good team we played today, I thought they were big, aggressive and you couldn’t breathe, before you know it they were right back in the game.”
North Pont finished with a 23-2 overall mark.
“We just ran into a better opponent today in Wise,” Serpone said. “I thank the seniors for going out, and now for the young ones they have to work harder if they want the same result. Overall they had a great season, something to be proud of.”
Junior forward Tasia Butler, who came in averaging 23 points in the regional playoffs, only had four in the first half and finished with 11 points.
“We were a little nervous,” Butler said, whose Eagles trailed 19-12 after the first quarter. “We came out missing easy shots, which put us down in the beginning, but we played hard to the finish.”
Chalise Greenwood scored seven of her nine points in the first half to give the team a spark.
“I felt like the energy could help us,” Greenwood said.
Thursday’s semifinal matchup was a back-and-forth contest that came down to the final possessions.
With 45 seconds left, Brooks caught a pass in stride from Gibson and made a layup to make it 61-57. Then a couple of seconds later, Brooks had a key steal in the open court, drew a North Point foul and made one of two free throws to put Wise up five points.
“We all wanted this and I felt like we needed a stop,” Brooks said. “[North Point] was outhustling us.”
The left-handed Logan knocked down a three-pointer with 31 seconds left to pull the Eagles to within 62-60. Gibson answered with a layup, 11 seconds later and Wise then missed two key free throws, still giving North Point a chance.
“Coming out of halftime, coach Serpone told us that we are still in this,” Logan said. “I just believed in him and played my game.”
Sophomore Khalia Prather cut the lead to 64-62 with 16.2 seconds left on a layup. On the Eagles’ next possession as they pushed it up the floor, Logan was receiving a pass, but had the ball deflected off her out of bounds by Wise’s Carolyn Cosey with four ticks left.
As time expired, Butler had to shoot an off balanced three-pointer, but the Eagles came up short.
The score was tied at 26 at intermission and North Point had a 38-30 lead with three minutes left in the third, but Wise exploded to a 17-1 run heading into the fourth.
The Eagles outrebounded Wise 56-25, but had 25 turnovers to Wise’s 13. North Point shot 13 for 19 (68 percent) from the foul line and Wise was 10 for 18 (56 percent). Both teams struggled from the field with Wise shooting 37 percent and North Point 35 percent.
The smaller Wise led in points in the paint in a 38-32 margin.
Henry A. Wise 64, North Point 62
Wise 19 7 21 17North Point 12 14 13 23
Wise: Brooks 30, Gibson 18, Ross 8, Lee 6, Peace 2
North Point: Logan 21, Butler 11, Greenwood 9, Mainor 7, Prather 6, Adams 4, Niravanh 2, White 2
Free throws: Wise 10-18 (Brooks 6-9, Gibson 2-3); North Point 13-19 (Logan 6-7)
3-point goals: Wise 4 (Brooks 4); North Point 3 (Logan, Butler, Greenwood)