Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008

Bowie eyes strong finish

Bulldogs in running for top-four seed in 4A South Region playoffs

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Bryan Haynes⁄The Bowie Star
In sharp contrast to its previous meeting one month earlier, the Bowie High School girls’ basketball team did not want to squander a big early lead and suffer a narrow, heartbreaking setback against Parkdale High.

In fact, when the Bulldogs held a 17-7 lead at the end of the first quarter on their home floor Friday night, coach Michael Hines quickly reminded his players that they had allowed a 19-4 advantage in the first meeting to slip away and eventually become a 50-49 loss. But in the rematch, the Bulldogs kept the pressure on the Panthers throughout and cruised to a 65-39 victory.

Bowie (11-5 overall, 8-4 in the County 4A League entering this week) had been a county doormat for nearly a decade when Hines arrived two years ago. At that time, many of the upper echelon teams in the league considered Bowie little more than scrimmage fodder. But the Bulldogs have clearly turned the corner during Hines’ brief tenure and Bowie appears headed for one of the top four seeds in the upcoming 4A South Region tournament.

‘‘Our goal since the beginning of the year has been to get one of the top four seeds,” Hines said. ‘‘If we can do that, then we know that we’ll have a first-round bye and a home game and then we’ll see what happens. Right now, we’d be in the same bracket with Eleanor Roosevelt and we’re OK with that. But our goal is to move up past Wise and get the third seed and then go from there.”

Hines and his Bowie players welcomed back sophomore Jasmine Macintosh, who had been suspended from the team briefly for ‘‘off-court issues” only to be reinstated last week. Macintosh, who entered the game at the start of the second quarter, had nine points and hit one 3-point field goal and offered a serious presence underneath the basket with nine rebounds.

Senior guard Johntae McCoy had eight steals, which enabled her to lead the Bulldogs with 13 points, followed by Macintosh and Lashana Lewis with nine points each, Jasmine Johnson and Robyn Keke with seven each, while Micha Broadnax had six. Bowie extended its lead to 38-17 at the intermission and maintained the same 21-point advantage through three quarters.

‘‘What I was most proud of was that we didn’t let up,” Hines said. ‘‘Last time we played them, we were up 15 points early and we just let them back into the game and they beat us at their place. [On Friday] we jumped out by 10 points after the first period and then went up by 21 at halftime. Our third quarters are usually where we struggle, but we did OK. Everybody who got into the game scored and I like to see that.”

While Hines could look to the immediate future with a good deal of optimism, Parkdale coach Selina Smith pondered what the remainder of the season held for her players. While the Bulldogs got balanced scoring from their starters and several reserves, the Panthers relied primarily on Leandra King and senior Shanice Burns. Burns led all scorers with 18 points, while King added 10. The other Parkdale players totaled 11.

‘‘We won by one point the last time we played them, but [on Friday] Bowie was just better right from the start,” Smith said. ‘‘They really controlled the ball better than we did. I thought Leandra did a good job in the paint, but we didn’t get the ball inside to her enough. Shanice is a solid offensive threat. But overall, I thought our intensity was lagging. We have to work on attacking the basket and on our free-throw shooting.”

Bowie ended the opening quarter on an 11-0 run and scored the first two baskets of the second period as all five Bulldogs’ starters scored. Despite not scoring in the last three minutes of the first half, Bowie took a 38-17 lead into the locker room at the intermission.

E-mail Ted Black at tblack@gazette.net.