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North locks up, tossed away by Key

February 28, 2006|by CHRIS CARTER /Staff Correspondent

Poor free throw shooting and an inflated turnover number will jeapordize any team's chance to win. But when the mistakes come at decisive moments in the game, the chance to win is virtually eliminated.

The North Hagerstown girls basketball team learned that concept the hard way Monday night, as it repeatedly turned the ball over to open the second half and made the least of its opportunities from the foul line in falling to Francis Scott Key 54-45 in the Maryland Class 2A West quarterfinals.

The Hubs (12-11) were called for traveling five times in the first four minutes of the second half and the Eagles (9-14) used a 12-0 run to take a 34-27 lead. North finished the game with 21 turnovers.

"We had an opportunity to win this game and we beat ourselves," said North coach Barry Brown. "The turnovers killed us because they came at crucial times."

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Just as crucial was a late turnover that spoiled a final comeback attempt.

Back-to-back baskets by Valentina Wheeler pulled North to within 44-43 with four minutes remaining. The Hubs had a chance to regain the lead, but Wheeler dribbled the ball off her foot and over to FSK's Shannon Miller, who outran the North defense for an easy layup. On the ensuing possession the Hubs again turned it over and Hunter made a pair of free throws at the other end to put the Eagles ahead, 48-43.

"Shannon is very capable of attacking the basket," said FSK coach Ed Wallier. "She was key for us to pad the lead late in the game."

Hunter was the roleplayer that stepped up for FSK, but the biggest contributors were sharp-shooting guards Allyson Lethbridge and Bethany Bachtel. Lethbridge hit four second-half 3s and finished tied for the team-high of 20 points.

"We hit some outside shots against their zone," Williar said. "We got the offense set and got Allyson the ball and she can hit the shot on the perimeter."

Bachtel sat part of the game because of foul trouble, but was consistent enough to drain nine buckets and finish with 20 points. Four of those points came while playing with four fouls during FSK's 10-2 run to end the game.

"(Bachtel) hasn't been in foul trouble at all this year. I can't remember another game where she's had four fouls," Williar said.

With the Eagles in foul trouble, it meant plenty of free throws for the Hubs. North shot 20 times, but managed a measly six points.

"We've been up and down all year and never consistent from the line," Brown said. "We have some kids that can make them some nights, but we just got in a funk and it spread."

Valentina Wheeler and Shawayna Morel each had 13 points for the Hubs. Morel and Kelly Toms each had 10 rebounds

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