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Cougars roll past 'Cats, into East Sectional final

March 02, 2005|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

THURMONT, Md. - Coming out with vengeance, Catoctin's girls basketball team was not going to be a partner to any surprises in its first tournament game Tuesday night.

The Cougars roared early and often throughout the first half on the way to a 54-30 victory over Williamsport in a Maryland Class 1A West Region East Sectional semifinal.

Catoctin (20-3) will face Poolesville, a 52-38 winner over Boonsboro, on Thursday at 6 p.m. at Thomas Johnson High School.

"We have a goal of making the state tournament, but this is the playoffs now and you have to take one game at a time," said Catoctin coach Amy Murray. "We have a team motto of 'Respect all, fear none,' but all teams are dangerous in the playoffs."

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The Cougars were relentless, putting the ball in the air from the tipoff, firing 25 shots in the first quarter. When they missed, they were pounding the offensive boards, getting eight rebounds off 13 shots in the first 3:25 on the way to an early 6-2 lead.

Senior Emily Balogh hit two buckets, one from 3-point land, as the Cougars finished the first quarter with a 10-0 run and a 16-4 lead.

Balogh and Sara Wastler each added seven points in the second quarter and Catoctin used a 9-0 run to end the first half with a commanding 37-11 lead.

An equally impressive feat, Catoctin was guilty of only one turnover in the first 16 minutes while forcing Williamsport into 24 percent shooting and 11 turnovers.

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"Generally we played well tonight," said Balogh, who will take her talents to Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky., on a scholarship next fall. "We had the shots early along with good ball movement finding the open sneak spots along the baseline."

Williamsport (9-15) lost by 40 points at Catoctin in late January and whittled the margin of defeat down to 18 on Feb. 15, but the Wildcats found themselves in trouble early.

"We just didn't rebound the basketball," Wildcats coach Chris Malott said. "Rebounding is about desire and we didn't have it. (Catoctin) had it and went after it. I don't know if they smell a trip to the state, but you can feel their energy.

"Saturday we hit shots early and we didn't tonight and the air started leaking slowly," Malott added, making a comparison to Saturday's 52-36 win over Brunswick in the first round.

Catoctin's final margin on the boards was 45-34. The Cougars shot 37 percent (21 of 65) from the floor compared to 25 percent (10 of 40) for the Wildcats.

Balogh led Catoctin with 13 points, all in the first half, and also snagged four rebounds. Wastler, who plans to play for Hood College, added 11 points and five rebounds. Two other Cougars were big on the boards. Ashley Metal came up with 10 and Kate Robinson had eight.

"Balogh is such an all-around player," said Murray. "he has such natural ability that I've not seen in any player in a while. She's explosive, has a great work ethic and is the kind of player that is refreshing."

Chrissy Minnick led the Wildcats with eight points and nine rebounds and Kellyn Cole had seven points and seven rebounds.

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