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Foul shots seal victory for North

February 02, 2005|by CURT HORNBECKER/Staff Correspondent

WILLIAMSPORT - Barry Brown wishes he could say his North Hagerstown girls' basketball team was just toying with Williamsport.

He watched a 15-point second-quarter lead evaporate, before solid free throw shooting down the stretch preserved a 52-45 MVAL-Antietam win Tuesday night.

"You have to step up to the line when the pressure's on and knock them down," said Brown. "You can play 30 minutes, but if it comes down to foul shots, you've got to make them."

And the Hubs (7-8, 5-3) did just that. After hitting just one of its first seven free throws in the final eight minutes, North caught fire and nailed seven of their last eight. Cara Thompson, who had missed four straight free throws early in the fourth period, led the barrage with four straight from the line in the final 85 seconds.

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Williamsport (5-11, 3-5) had plenty of trouble handling the Hubs' full-court, man-to-man pressure, committing 29 turnovers.

A 22-6 North run gave the Hubs a 24-9 lead midway through the second quarter, with Chelsea Clark's eight points doing much of the damage.

But after a Wildcats' timeout termed a "wake-up call" by Williamsport coach Chris Malott the Hubs' lead slowly eroded.

By halftime, North's lead had shrunk to 10 behind six Adrian Munoz points.

The Wildcats kept the run going in the third quarter, outscoring North, 14-6, with Chrissy Minnick scoring six points for Williamsport.

A Lindsay Smith layup with 6:09 left in the fourth period closed the gap to 35-34, but 3-pointers from Valentina Wheeler and Cara Thompson pushed the margin back to seven and forced the Wildcats to foul.

"We really didn't start playing until the middle of the second quarter and there was only so much gas in the tank," Malott said. "When you dig a hole like that, it's tough to get out."

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