Option 1 the only one Bulldogs need

January 04, 2006|by CHRIS CARTER /Staff Correspondent

INWOOD, W.Va. - Martinsburg girls basketball coach Beth Sadler likes to give her team options. So when Sadler called a timeout with 44 seconds remaining and the game knotted 45-45, she drew up three options to score the go-ahead basket.

Option 1 was senior forward LaToya Buckner. Options 2 and 3 were fellow forwards Rachel Hull and Dominique Ollie, but they were not needed because Buckner took the inbounds pass and drained a 14-foot jump shot to lift the Bulldogs past Musselman 50-45 in Apple Valley League action Tuesday night.

"We were trying to get it to one of our three post players," Sadler said. "We either wanted to get it to LaToya up high, or Dominique or Rachel on the rolldown. If LaToya got double-teamed then we were going to have Dominique or Rachel open low."

Buckner wasn't double-teamed and used her 6-foot-1 frame to get free and take the pass from Kodie Butts. Buckner made one move before draining the jumper from the left wing to lift the Bulldogs (4-0, 3-0)


"Coach sent all three of us to the middle. Whoever got open was going to get the shot," said Buckner, who finished with 10 points and 16 rebounds. "We really underestimated (Musselman). They played us tough and almost took it from us."

Musselman (2-4, 2-2) led 45-43 approaching the final minute on back-to-back field goals by Nikki Stephenson, but Martinsburg's Iesha Robinson tied the game on a baseline drive. Robinson also drew the foul and had a chance to take the lead. The free throw missed, but the Bulldogs retained possession of the loose ball, setting up the play that gave the Bulldogs the lead.

"I try to preach to the girls that you can't underestimate any team, especially the way these schools are growing," said Sader. "There are no easy games anymore."

Musselman had every opportunity to put the Bulldogs away earlier in the game. The Applemen led by as many as 10 points in the first half, but allowed Martinsburg to score the last six points before halftime to close the gap to 26-22.

"I gave the kids a tough talk at halftime because I was disappointed with how they finished out the first half," said Applemen coach Mike Marsh. "We acted like we were down by 10, instead of up by 10."

The Appleman took a more conservative approach in the second half, making just two baskets, but clung to a 32-31 lead at the start of the fourth quarter. Musselman's 5-for-13 performance from the free throw line over the first three quarters hurt.

"We've actually shot pretty well from the line this year. When we need to hit the clutch ones we have been," said Marsh.

Martinsburg took its first lead of the second half with the help of a technical foul called on Marsh. Nicole Peterson hit a free throw and a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to give the Bulldogs their first lead at 35-32.

Musselman took the lead in the fourth quarter and stayed in the lead or in a tie until Buckner hit the game-winner.

Stephenson finished with 15 points, while Courtni Williams and Lacy Williams each added nine.

Peterson led the Bulldogs with 11 points.

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