Clutch free throws help Laurel advance -- Gazette.Net


Laurel High School’s Megan Brown went to the foul line with 14.8 seconds remaining and her team trailing Parkdale 47-46 in the Class 4A South Region, Section I finals. But with the game and season on the line, the senior converted both attempts and the Spartans (13-9) held on for a 51-47 victory Thursday in Laurel.

“I had faith that she was going to make it. Crunch time, she’s done it in a couple games this season. I have faith in her,” Laurel coach Thomas Harrison said.

Brown, a 55 percent free-throw shooter on the season, converted another pair of clutch foul shots in the final seconds and finished with 18 points to send Laurel to the 4A South Region championship game.

“We’re really proud,” Brown said. “This is the farthest we’ve been in my four years here so it’s a really good feeling.”

The Spartans are scheduled to play undefeated Eleanor Roosevelt (23-0) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Henry A. Wise for a spot in the state semifinals.

Senior Lisa Jing added 18 points, scoring eight in the first half to help give the Spartans a 31-23 lead at intermission.

Parkdale (13-8) trimmed the deficit to 40-36 heading into the final period and held the lead briefly in the fourth quarter, but Laurel came up with timely turnovers and converted its free throws in the last minute to clinch the game.

Jing and Brown, Laurel’s top two scorers, accounted for all of Laurel’s 11 fourth-quarter points.

“I got to give it all to my girls who came back and persevered, and that’s what I told them before the game,” Harrison said. “No matter what, you got to persevere.”

Parkdale senior Kareema Conteh — facing double teams and triple teams — finished with a game-high 32 points. The County 4A leading scorer (24.1 points per game) was limited to five points in the fourth quarter and shut down by Laurel’s defense in Parkdale’s final possessions.

“We just tried to get in front of her. Make sure she doesn’t catch the ball, so she can’t score it,” Jing said.

Parkdale, which lost to Laurel 67-51 on Jan. 6, had won nine of its past 10 before Thursday’s loss.

Laurel lost to Roosevelt twice this season: 72-40 on Feb. 20 and 57-11 on Jan. 23.

“Everybody is going to have to come to play,” Jing said. “If everybody comes to play and we all do our part, it’s going to be a really good game.”

Laurel 51, Parkdale 47

Parkdale 10 13 13 11 — 47

Laurel 18 13 9 11 — 51

Parkdale (13-8): Kareema Conteh 32, Ruth Omolola 8, Nailah Jones 5, Tabatha Johnson 2.

Laurel (13-9): Megan Brown 18, Lisa Jing 18, Keyonna Biggs 5, Grace Onuma 5, Jamonie Lindsey 3, Nayieh Miller 2.