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Bulldogs 'role' to state

March 03, 1999|By DAN SPEARS

INWOOD, W.Va. - Maybe it was the full moon that forced Maggie Robinson's head into the clouds.

Whatever the case, Martinsburg's leading scorer and rebounder struggled Tuesday against Hampshire in the WVSSAC Region II final. But as the Bulldogs' brightest offensive star faded, all their lesser lights started shining.

Despite just four points and three rebounds from Robinson, Martinsburg got a huge night from its role players to win 52-48 for its 11th straight trip to the state tournament.

[cont. from sports page]

"She just didn't play well, but all good players are entitled to a bad game," Martinsburg coach Don Bullett said. "That's why this is a team game."

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The luster on Martinsburg's championship night came from Kristen Lough and Erika Pittsnogle. Lough ran the offense to near perfection, finishing with 10 points, two assists and just one turnover.

"Kristen did an excellent job tonight just being the floor leader, taking care of the basketball - that was probably the biggest surprise of the night," Bullett said.

With a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs (19-4), who had made 14 straight free throws early in the game, blacked out at the line when the Trojans began fouling at will. Martinsburg went just 10-for-22 from the line in the fourth quarter.

"I guess we thought the game might have been a lock," LaToya Parks said. "That's how it happened at Hampshire (a 49-48 Martinsburg win). We thought we had it."

Eventually, they did, thanks to two free throws from Pittsnogle with 21.9 seconds to go that gave Martinsburg a five-point lead. The sophomore dominated the fourth-quarter glass, finishing with six defensive rebounds in the final eight minutes to go along with her eight points.

"She's not going to get the publicity, but she'll make the plays," Bullett said. "She's done it all year long; she does the things we need her to (do) to win."

That role is normally reserved for Robinson, but on a night where the ball wouldn't do anything she wanted it to on the offensive end, she turned it up on defense.

"She always gets me up and I just went and told her to get her head up and play her ball," said Twigg, who finished with a team-high 13 points. "She didn't score a lot of points tonight, but ... she did a lot of other good things."

Robinson finished with five steals and three assists - the final one coming with 3:25 left on a nifty feed to Parks on the fast break. It was Martinsburg's final field goal attempt.

"I almost started crying during the national anthem," the senior said. "This was my last game around here and we just had to win it."

That forecast was in the stars.

Other High School Playoffs:

-- Southern 'holds on' to win

-- Hancock frosh sets marks in win

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