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Williamsport girls warm to occasion

January 10, 2004|by BILL STERNER / Staff Correspondent

WILLIAMSPORT - Williamsport girls basketball coach Curtis Graff briefly suffered through some troubling flashbacks during the first quarter of Friday's game with Brunswick, but nightmares and bad dreams didn't cause the uneasiness.

Instead, Graff - after watching the Wildcats shoot a frigid 1-for-17 in the first quarter of Tuesday's loss to Hancock - sat through another icy outing with a 1-for-14 start against Brunswick.

This time, though, the start didn't freeze Williamsport out at the end. Staci Grabill and Lindsay Plotner warmed Williamsport's game in the second quarter and the 'Cats were able to hold off a strong fourth quarter by Brunswick's Leah McCallum to snare a 40-35 Monocacy Valley Athletic League Antietam Conference victory.

For Williamsport (2-6, 1-1), the game was a hopeful start to the Wildcats re-discovering their offense - even though it took a Kellyn Cole jumper in the lane with 23 seconds left in the first quarter to get them started.

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Meanwhile for coach Bill Martin and Brunswick, the game was a frustrating exhibition of missed assignments and errant passes.

"We certainly didn't take care of the ball tonight," Martin said. "I think we left our brains on the bus."

In fact, Brunswick (1-7, 1-1) never led again after Kristin Spencer scored the opening points of the game on a layup for Brunswick.

"We didn't play well," Martin said. "Plain and simple."

Williamsport, in turn, played well enough in flashes, especially on the offensive boards.

"Offensive rebounds have been trouble for us this year," Graff said. "But I think Kellyn's (Cole) putback on the buzzer motivated us to play tonight through that fourth quarter."

It started when Williamsport's Melissa Sweigert overshot a layup attempt over the basket in the final second of the third quarter but Cole followed the shot and slipped the ball through the hoop at the buzzer. It gave the Wildcats a 28-18 lead entering the final period.

"We did a nice job on the boards overall tonight," Graff said. "But getting those second chances was huge."

Williamsport needed every bit of its cushion as Brunswick cut the lead under five points three times, keyed by McCallum scoring 10 of her game-high 19 points down the stretch.

"McCallum played hard tonight," Martin said. "But we were struggling, especially with our point guard in foul trouble all night."

Point guard Alicia Stamper, the spark plug of the Roaders' offense, was whistled for her third foul before the half.

"We played with focus tonight," Graff said. "We are improving each time out."

Williamsport's Grabill had a team-high 13 points while Plotner scored nine.

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