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North girls late run can't undo Catoctin's early work

February 21, 2001

North girls late run can't undo Catoctin's early work



By CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer

Catoctin over NorthFor most teams, a five-minute scoring drought in the fourth quarter would be a kiss of death.

For the 10th-ranked Catoctin girls basketball team, it served only to make things interesting ... considerably more interesting than Tracey Kelley prefers.

The Cougars coach looked on helplessly as her club's once-comfortable 21-point advantage shrunk to five before Cyndi Benjamin canned a pair of free throws to finally seal a 52-43 victory over North Hagerstown in a Monocacy Valley Athletic League game Tuesday night.

"We knew we were playing badly, but we knew we'd kick it back in sometime," Benjamin said. "We've been in that situation before, so we knew what we had to do."

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With Catoctin (12-9, 12-5) holding a 47-26 lead, the Hubs came roaring back with 16 unanswered points behind Amanda McGhee's eight points. During that five-minute span, things which had gone wrong for North throughout the first three periods suddenly began going right.

"I told the girls that they have to go out and be aggressive," said Hubs coach Helen Mency. "We have one more game before the playoffs start, and its time to start peaking. This was one where if we had played a little more consistency, we could have stolen."

North's inability to sink free throws was a key factor. Through the first three periods, the Hubs (6-13, 4-13) hit just four of 14 from the line and canned just 10 of 25 for the game.

The Hubs were forced turn to Autumn Parson, North's top offensive weapon who was forced to sit though most of the first half with three personal fouls, played virtually every minute of the second half. And finally, the Hubs began hitting some shots from the perimeter and hit the glass with greater intensity.

Ironically, both Monica Cherry and Jenn Eyler - the Cougars' top ball-handler and rebounder - fouled out during the Hubs' fourth-quarter run.

"Monica and Jenn fouled out and that hurt us," said Kelley. "But I think we felt like we had the win sealed, so we kind of laid off. The girls know I won't stand for that."

Kelley had little to gripe about during the first three periods, as Catoctin held the Hubs scoreless through the last three minutes of the first half for a 22-13 lead. Behind Benjamin's 10 points, and seven from Sarah Valentine, the Cougars expanded the margin to 18 points entering the final eight minutes.

No. 10 Catoctin 52, North Hagerstown 43



CATOCTIN (52)

Benjamin 29, Cherry 2, Valentine 13, Atkins 2, Gladhill 1, Eyler 5, Total 19 11-16 52.

NORTH HAGERSTOWN (43)

Mason 10, Stamper 5. Brown 1, McGhee 10, Hammond 2, Gantt 7, Parson 8, Total 16 10-25 43.

Catoctin11112010-52

N. Hagerstown851119-43

Three-point goals: Catoctin 3 (Benjamin 2, Valentine). North Hagerstown 1 (McGhee).

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