Catoctin tops Boonbsoro girls in states

February 25, 2000|By DAN SPEARS

THURMONT, Md. - The Catoctin girls basketball team was dropping all sorts of bombs Friday night in the first round of the Class 1A South playoffs. Some were at themselves, but the majority were directed at Boonsboro.

Catoctin coach Tracey Kelley used two fiery speeches to motivate her team, and the Cougars responded by going 9-for-15 from 3-point range to pull away from the Warriors for a 62-53 victory.

Kelley first lit into the Cougars (5-18) after they fell behind 10-2 to open the game, only to watch them storm back to a 29-27 halftime lead. With things disintigrating to start the second half, an upset Kelley pulled leading scorer Cyndi Benjamin from the game and bluntly asked her, "Are you ready to play now?"

When Benjamin answered, she meant it. The junior hit four 3s in the last 6 minutes, 15 seconds of the third quarter - the last one with 1 second left - to push Catoctin's lead to 47-33.


"I've never had to do that before," Kelley said. "But she's the engine to this machine. If she's not working, you're afraid that the other four parts won't go on well without her."

If Benjamin - who finished 5-for-8 from downtown and had 17 points - is the engine, then Sarah Yocum is the fuel. The 5-foot-6 forward put the clamps on Boonsboro's Liz Smith in the third quarter and had the highlight play of Catoctin's 13-0 run midway through the third.

She outpositioned Smith and Robin Curley for back-to-back offensive rebounds and put in the third try for a basket that had Kelley and the Catoctin bench waving every towel they could find.

"I think I was just embarrassed that I missed the first two," said Yocum, who finished with 10 boards. "Rebounding might not get all the credit, but sometimes that's what can make or break the game for you. And tonight, we did that."

Boonsboro fought back behind Smith, whose height slowly wore Yocum and a host of defenders down. Her two free throws with 2:05 to play made it a 56-49 game, but Danielle Atkins responded with Catoctin's ninth and final 3 on the next trip down.

"They hit a LOT of 3s," Boonsboro coach Bernie Semler said with a shrug. "I've probably seen them 4-5 times, and they haven't done that all year. But we defended in a zone, and someone has to get open. And they made all the shots."

Although the final score didn't reflect the closeness of the team's two games in the regular season - both had a 1-point decision - the chances of someone leaving the building early were slim.

Until the bomb squad showed up.


Catoctin 62, Boonsboro 53


Smith 23, Harris 4, Whipp 8, Reeder 7, Curley 5, Main 4, Myers 2. Totals 22-54 8-13 53.


Benjamin 17, Yocum 6, Atkins 14, Eyler 11, M. Williams 4, Gladhill 8, Portner 2. Totals 22-62 9-14 62.



Three-point goals - Boonsboro 1 (Reeder), Catoctin 9 (Benjamin 5, Atkins 2, Gladhill 2).

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