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DAMASCUS – Facing an undefeated South Hagerstown squad in the 3A girls basketball regional finals, six-foot-four-inch Damascus forward Kelli Prange knew she needed to take advantage of her height if her team was to earn its second straight berth in the state semifinals.
Prange came through early and often in a dominating performance for the Lady Hornets (18-2), finishing with a game high of 34 points and 21 rebounds in a 72-49 win.
“Coming in our game plan is to really pound the ball inside,” Prange said. “We looked at the height advantage and I’m pretty sure I had a six-inch differential. Once they started double-teaming me that led to other people being open and my teammates knocked down shots. It is just a huge win.”
Prange notched a double-double in the first quarter alone. The team started the game off on a 9-0 run, and led by Prange’s 17 first quarter points, took a 25-14 lead.
In the second quarter Damascus continued to break down South Hagertown’s (22-1) full court press and get easy baskets. The team also got a boost from freshman Tiana Stewart who scored six points and blocked a layup which earned a loud cheer from the home crowd. The team led 40-28 at halftime.
Prange and Damascus continued to roll in the second half, outscoring South Hagerstown 32-21 to finish with a 23-point win and earn a trip back to the state semifinals. Last year Damascus lost to Aberdeen in the semifinals.
While Damascus head coach Steve Pisarski said Prange’s performance was special, he pointed out the win was a team effort.
“We have a height advantage with Kelli and she had a great game again, but she does not have that game unless everyone is handling the ball, making the good passes,” he said. “It is the whole team. Everyone is doing it. She can’t score 34 by dribbling it the length of the court. Someone has got to get it to her. It is a whole team effort.”
For Damascus, Lauren Green finished with 14 points and Jenna Kaufman chipped in with 12. Katrice Dickson led South Hagerstown with 16 points.
Damascus will face Poly in the state semifinals at Towson University’s SECU Arena on Thursday.