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Williamsport puts clamps on Cougars

January 11, 1997

By GREGALTON

Staff Correspondent

Williamsport added another chapter to its book of defensive accomplshments Friday night.

The Wildcats didn't allow Catoctin a shot in the second half until the 3:18 mark of the third quarter, and they limited the Cougars to just 14 total points in the second half. The defensive blanket the Wildcats threw over Catoctin in the second half allowed Williamsport to turn a slim 28-24 halftime advantage into a 60-38 rout of the Cougars.

The 38 points lowered opponents' per game scoring average against the Wildcats to 42 points per game.

"As a coach you have to love those numbers," Williamsport coach Kevin Murphy said. "There is never a night when you shouldn't play defense. When you play good defense, it allows you to overcome nights when you are not shooting the ball well or you are being too careless with the basketball and turning it over."

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Friday night was one of those nights when Williamsport was a little too careless. Williamsport's turnovers, combined with Catoctin's 7 of 12 shooting from the floor in the first quarter, helped the Cougars to a 17-15 lead.

The Wildcats got a big lift just before halftime when Andy Artz canned his third 3-pointer of the quarter for a 28-24 Williamsport lead.

"The 3-pointer by Artz just before halftime was huge," Catoctin coach Chris Barnhart said. "We controlled the lead and the tempo for pretty much the entire first half and then he hit that shot and that just gave them the momentum."

The Wildcats made an adjustment with their defense at halftime and that proved to be the key of the second half.

"We didn't show any defensive patience in the first half. They were making a lot of passes and we would gamble for the steal and end up giving them a wide open shot. We just decided to switch to a zone in the second half instead of chasing them around all night," Murphy said.

Rusty Tritsch opened the second half by burying a 3-pointer and Steve Ritchie followed with a layup off a steal to push the Williamsport margin to 33-24.

Artz led all scorers with 22 points, while Ritchie added 12.

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