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Clear Spring girls win

break 84-game losing streak

February 06, 2005|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Rarely, if ever, has one team had reason to celebrate a one-game winning streak like Clear Spring High School's girls basketball team did Saturday.

For nearly four years, the Blazers' losing streak, which reached 84 games after a loss to Smithsburg on Friday night, has been the chip - make that the boulder - on Clear Spring's shoulder.

So when the Blazers heaved it off by beating St. Maria Goretti 42-37 on Saturday for their first victory since a 54-41 win over Hancock on Feb. 16, 2001, it only made sense that a lot of cheering, smiles and a few tears of joy followed.

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"We've been through three years of losing, and we've worked very hard for this day," said junior Leigh Ann Bearden, one of two three-year varsity starters on a Clear Spring squad with no seniors. "We would want to give up, want to quit, but as a group, we told each other to stay up and keep our heads high. ..."

For me, it was more happy and not so much crying. I was shocked. We've wanted this for so long," Leigh Ann said.

"I couldn't be more proud of all of those girls. They knew they had to step up and they did," said junior Megan Blickenstaff, the other three-year starter who had to sit out Saturday's game with an injury. "I definitely wanted to be out there with them. ... I was biting my nails for a while, it was going back and forth. (The fans) couldn't sit still, nobody could sit still. It was obvious."

It was a long-awaited day for both the players and coach Erin Wadel, who was given the reins to the program before last season and kept the team focused and working hard in practice despite losses in each of her first 38 games at the helm.

"It was nerve-wracking," Wadel said of Saturday's victory. "The girls all contributed to this in some shape and form. ... It was great, it was definitely great to get a win."

Clear Spring used a 14-6 run late in the fourth quarter to break a 28-28 tie, and nervous anticipation in the final two minutes of the game turned into jubilation when the final horn sounded.

"I knew we had it in the last couple seconds," sophomore Maggie Wolford said. "All of that hard work finally paid off. All those things said about (the streak), now we did it and we know we can do it again."

"It's the best feeling ever, it really is," junior Jen Hull said. "We've had a lot of close games, and this was the one, and it won't be the last one."

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