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Road to title now on road for Warriors

February 28, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - Combining a suffocating defense with a pretty darned good shooting night, Boonsboro sent Williamsport to the sidelines with a 56-39 victory in the Maryland Class 1A West quarterfinals on Monday night.

For their effort, the Warriors (21-3) must now climb their toughest obstacle to date - on Wednesday at Catoctin in the East section final - hoping to extract revenge at the right time for two losses during the regular season.

"We need to go there and play hard and without mistakes," said Boonsboro coach Max Shaffer, after the Warriors forced Williamsport into 31 turnovers.

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Williamsport (9-15) led only once, 6-4, before Jerica Hewett knotted the score and the Boonsboro defense went to work.

On seven straight possessions, Williamsport turned the ball over, which led to four baskets by the Warriors for a 14-6 lead.

The Wildcats stopped the bleeding temporarily on a 3-pointer by Morgan Smith and a basket by Leah Mellott.

Carrying a 16-11 lead into the second, again Williamsport went seven straight possessions with a turnover. The Warriors converted their biggest blow - a four-point play by Alex Baker - with 5:47 left before half. Baker added another bucket and a trey to stretch the lead to 30-16 with 1:55 remaining.

"We had 16 turnovers and those are possessions you don't have an opportunity to score," said Williamsport coach Chris Malott. "(Boonsboro) did this to us the last time we played here. And Hewett was so tough on defense. She's so much fun to watch."

In the eyes of Shaffer, what was fun to watch was the re-emergence of Baker and her shooting touch, which escaped her in Friday's tourney-opening win over Smithsburg.

"I told (Alex) that all good shooters don't quit shooting when they miss," said Shaffer. "That's what she did Friday."

Baker hit 6 of 12 from the floor to lead the Warriors with 19 points, including three 3-pointers. Overall, Boonsboro hit 20 of 40 as a team for 50 percent.

"I'll admit I stopped shooting Friday but coach said I needed to keep on shooting, even if I missed the first couple of shots," said Baker.

Hewett added 16 points, including 7 of 12 from the floor, with six steals and was the focal point of Boonsboro's defense which constantly stuck in Williamsport's face with constant switching.

Williamsport didn't help itself in the second half, either. The Wildcats followed up their 16 first-half turnovers with 15 more and kept points off the scoreboard with a horrible 5 of 22 showing at the free throw line.

"We at least shoot 50 percent for the year at the line, but it was a tough atmosphere for the girls and we're young," said Malott. "But give (Boonsboro) credit, they're a tough team."

Sophomore Morgan Smith led the Wildcats with 16 points, hitting 5 of 10 from the floor, but only 4 of 9 from the line. She led Williamsport with eight rebounds.

Now, it's off to Catoctin, which Boonsboro lost to 58-55 at home on Feb. 3 and 65-36 at Catoctin on Feb. 17.

"Overall, we need to play better team defense against (Catoctin)," said Baker.

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