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Blazers' shooting at line has 'Cats crying foul

February 25, 2004|by CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

CLEAR SPRING - The Williamsport boys basketball team might have survived missing three players due to injuries.

But losing two more to foul trouble proved more than the Wildcats could handle as Clear Spring drained 9 of 12 fourth-quarter free throws to escape with a 57-53 Antietam Conference win Tuesday night.

The Blazers (17-5, 9-5) were forced to play without center Alex Tyler, which would have given the Wildcats a decisive advantage had Corey Broadwater and John Hose - Williamsport's primary forces in the paint - not been plagued with foul problems virtually all evening.

Still, the Wildcats (12-10, 7-7) had opportunities to tie the game down the stretch. But missed layups and poor foul shooting (8 of 20) allowed Clear Spring to maintain its lead.

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"We've been brutal from the free throw line all year," said Wildcats coach Deron Crawford. "We're not going to win many close games shooting like that from the line."

Trailing 32-21 at the half, Williamsport scored nine straight points to open the third period and faced just a six-point deficit entering the final eight minutes.

After Clear Spring extended the margin to 51-41 with 4:39 remaining, the Wildcats reeled off nine straight - sparked by 3-pointers from David Warrenfeltz and Josh Bowers - to pull within one with just over two minutes left.

After Brandon Yost's free throw pushed the Blazers' lead to two, Hose could hit just one of two tries at the opposite end. Then, Phil Saloom added another free throw to re-establish Clear Spring's two-point edge, but Warrenfeltz was unable to convert a driving layup only seconds later for the possible tie.

That opened the door for the Blazers. Clear Spring hit its final four free throws to keep Williamsport at bay.

"(Williamsport) played aggressively in the second half and we played passively," said Clear Spring coach Don Harnish. "It just seemed like once we got the lead, we didn't want to push it. We relaxed.

"We haven't been able to put teams away, but we keep winning. We're going to have to play better if we're going to win in the playoffs."

Bowers' 15 points paced the Wildcats with Warrenfeltz and Jordan adding 13 apiece. Yost had 13 to lead Clear Spring, followed by Mike Snyder with 11 and Brad Turner with 10.

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