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Williamsport girls defeat South Hagerstown

January 24, 1997

By MARK KELLER

Staff Correspondent

WILLIAMSPORT - The Williamsport girls' basketball team's starting guards, Ashley van Norden and Erin Gross, have been dubbed `Fire and Ice' by coach Curtis Graff. But things were a bit out of balance for the Wildcats Thursday night.

With van Norden absent due to illness, it was the cooler Gross leading Williamsport to a 17-4 first quarter lead en route to a 53-25 win over South Hagerstown in a Monocacy Valley Athletic League game.

"Erin is much more a control player. She runs things well on the court," Graff said. "We call Ashley `Fire' because she is so explosive and creates things on the floor. But Erin did a great job with the ball tonight."

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Although the first quarter explosion gave the Wildcats (10-4, 6-4) a double-digit cushion they would enjoy for the remainder of the game, it was Williamsport's defense that chilled South into submission.

The Rebels (1-9, 1-8) turned the ball over in its first seven possessions, helping Williamsport take an early 7-0 lead. South did not get a shot for the first 3:30 of the period. Stacey Zeger went coast-to-coast after a steal to finally put the Rebels on the board with just over four minutes remaining.

Williamsport would score the next 10 points, including four apiece by Gross and Carrie Weimer, to grab a 17-2 lead. The Wildcats would extend the lead to 19 points early in the second period on a pair of baskets by Janet Richmond.

Trailing 23-4, the Rebels pulled themselves back into the game. A 12-3 streak, led by Zeger and Emily Middlekauff, helped South cut the margin to 26-16. Middlekauff's three-pointer with 2:25 left capped the string for the Rebels.

But Williamsport closed the first half on a 9-2 run to stretch its advantage to 35-18. Britt Jones, who led all scorers with 13 points, had five points in that run for the Wildcats.

"Britt really shot the ball well tonight, on a night when we needed her to," Graff said. "The contributions come from different places every night, and tonight was her night to have a big game."

The second half was all Williamsport as the Wildcats outscored the Rebels, 18-7. South managed just one field goal in the second half, a three-pointer by Middlekauff with 25 seconds remaining in the game. Middlekauff led South with 10 points.

"We've been working really hard on moving the ball and reversing the flow, but we just didn't do it well tonight," said South coach Anne Whisner. "They had good shot selection, patience - everything we didn't have tonight."

Weimer finished with 11 points and Richmond scored 10 off the bench for Williamsport.

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