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Knight girls rally past Rockville

March 06, 1997

By CURT HORNBECKER

Staff Correspondent

MIDDLETOWN, Md. - Timing is everything.

While Rockville's girls' basketball team picked the wrong time to tire, Middletown picked the right time to start hitting its shots.

The result was a 56-46 come-from-behind victory for Middletown in a Maryland Class 2A West regional semifinal contest Thursday night.

An 8-2 run to open the fourth quarter gave the Rams (12-12) a 40-37 lead with 5:19 left, but Middletown - sparked by Aryn McCumber - rallied for seven unanswered points over the next three minutes to claim a lead it never relinquished.

"We were just tired," said Rockville coach Heather Podosek. "We had no gas left. We didn't have the legs to finish, and we didn't hit some key shots when we needed to at the end.

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"The kids have battled all year long, and we peaked at the right time, and that's why we were able to give Middletown a good game."

After hitting just 14 of 35 field goal attempts in the first three quarters, Middletown responded with 8 of 13 shooting in the final eight minutes, mostly from close range.

With the Knights (20-4) holding a four-point edge, Jessica Baker and Anne Rieser delivered the final blow with a length-of-the-court inbounds pass which Rieser converted for an easy layup with just over a minute remaining.

"We told Jessica and Anne to make eye contact," said Middletown coach Mark Miller. "Anne's our quickest player, and they both recognized it. That was a big play for us, and they did a great job recognizing it."

Neither team could get anything going in the first period, until the Knights scored six points in the final 58 seconds to take an 8-3 lead. The lead grew to nine points midway through the third quarter, but a 10-4 Rockville rally trimmed the margin to 35-32 entering the final frame.

Early in the final eight minutes, the Rams dominated the boards, getting several second-shots, while limiting Middletown to just one.

"We've talked about that all year long," said Miller. "We're not very big, so we have to be aggressive and rebound well at the end to win the big games."

Baker led the Knights with 15 points, while Joann Engestrom finished with 14, and Rieser added 11. McCumber chipped in eight points, including six in the fourth quarter.

Tameka Lyles led Rockville with 16 points. Hannah Freeman added 13.

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