The Bulldogs' wins this season have come from old-fashioned blue-collar work ethic, and they continued the trend Thursday night with a 47-38 victory over archrival Hedgesville despite missing leading scorer Sha Anderson.
"We needed to see we can win without Sha in the lineup," Martinsburg coach Don Bullett said. "Tonight, other people stepped up and played well."
Erika Williams (13 points) and Tasha Robinson (11 points) inflicted most of the hurt on Hedgesville, but the Bulldogs' uncanny ability to rebound in key situations down the stretch kept the Eagles at arm's length.
"We just don't do a good job in the paint," Hedgesville coach Ben Merica said. "We are too timid. but what really bothered me was our missed opportunities under the offensive boards after Martinsburg free throws."
The Bulldogs' season-long free-throw shooting woes continued, but they were able to convert three misses into six points on offensive rebound baskets.
"Erika, Tasha and Tabi (Merceruio) jump really well," Bullett said. "I thought that they rebounded well tonight and that part of the game is always important."
Martinsburg's inside play, combined with the puzzling inability of the Eagles to make point-blank shots, led to a 29-12 game in the second quarter. It nearly became a rout until the Eagles (4-7) closed the first half on a 10-1 run.
In the second half, Hedgesville gave Martinsburg (7-3) a dose of its own defensive medicine and closed the gap to 38-35 with 2 minutes, 30 seconds to play in the game on Amanda Dellinger's 6-footer in the lane.
But the Bulldogs kept control, limiting the Eagles to just one shot on its remaining offensive possessions and forcing them to foul to get the ball back.
"We were able to make some free throws when it counted there at the end." said Bullett, whose team converted six of their last 10 attempts. "We don't play until next Thursday so we have some time to straighten some things out."