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Knights overcome slow start, Catoctin

January 22, 2003|by CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

MIDDLETOWN, Md. - Had Middletown's girls basketball team finished the way it started, things could have been very different.

But the third-ranked Knights shrugged off the slow start and cruised to a 55-35 Monocacy Valley Athletic League victory over an overmatched Catoctin team Tuesday night.

Middletown used a 13-4 run to start the second period, after closing the first eight minutes with just a two-point edge despite forcing eight turnovers with its trapping pressure defense.

Sparked by Amber Holian's five points, the Knights reeled off the first seven points of the quarter to establish a 16-7 advantage, and closed the period with a 30-17 lead.

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"That's a lot of senior leadership," said Knights coach Kara Nelson of Holian's effort. "She's a great player who knows how to score and knows how to hit the people under the basket."

Meanwhile, Catoctin had trouble finding the range at the offensive end. The Cougars missed 18 of 26 field goals in the first half, and committed a total of 14 turnovers.

"We just didn't know how to break the press," said Catoctin coach Tracy Franklin. "We're a small team, and it's not easy for us to see over their (taller players). Plus, Jessica Blickenstaff was out with a concussion tonight. She's 6-foot, and she's our trap breaker."

A Heidi Stull bucket and a three-point play by Emily Balogh midway through the third period pulled the Cougars to within 10, but buckets from Jenny Wheeler and Jessica Metzner kept Catoctin from getting any closer, as Middletown continued to dominate the game inside.

"That's been part of our problem until this point," said Nelson. "We've been working hard on our rebounding in practice, trying to take advantage of our size advantage."

Franklin would agree that the work has paid dividends.

"(Their inside play) absolutely killed us," said Franklin. "It was one of those nights when we just didn't have it."

Holian added the finishing touches to the rout by hitting eight points in a 10-2 Middletown run that pushed the Knights' margin to 21 with just over four minutes to play.

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