Railroaders stay on track

February 28, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

CLEAR SPRING - If only Brunswick girls basketball coach Bill Martin could package Leah McCallum's performance Friday into a box and open it back up against Catoctin on Monday.

McCallum dominated Clear Spring in a Maryland Class 1A West first-round playoff game, scoring 20 points, grabbing 17 rebounds, forcing seven steals and blocking three shots as the Railroaders steamed past the Blazers 71-24 to set up a home date with Catoctin in the quarterfinals.

"She can hold her own with anybody," Martin said. "She's so strong, when she's on her game I don't know if anyone can stop her."


Brunswick (8-15) used a 23-2 run over most of the second quarter to take total control over the Blazers (0-23), who committed 23 first-half turnovers.

The Railroaders' quarterfinal meeting with Catoctin will come one week after their last meeting, in which Brunswick trailed 27-21 at halftime before being outscored 39-17 in the second half. McCallum was held to just seven points in that game, while the Cougars' Emily Balogh erupted for 26 points.

"We hung with them for the first half and then we went in a funk for the second half," Martin said. "I think we turned the ball over 25 times. They have a very scrappy team of fired-up kids. ... We're going to have to play a great defensive game to shut those kids down."

Clear Spring finished its third consecutive winless season and has lost 69 straight games since the Blazers' last victory in February 2000. But Clear Spring coach Erin Grossnickle said the difference in the team now compared to the start of the season was significant.

"This whole season we've worked on building the program slowly and learning good, solid basketball," Grossnickle said. "It's unfortunate our seniors have to go, but we are looking to the future. From the start of this season they have grown tremendously. There has not been one game this year where those girls gave up before the final buzzer.

"We've got a team in the summer league, and they want to play hard and get better. They want to have a winning record."

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