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Cougars stop Warriors short of region final

March 02, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

FREDERICK, Md. - Once again, the road to the Maryland Class 1A West girls basketball championship game went through Catoctin.

Once again, Catoctin made sure it was a road with a detour for any potential detractors as the Cougars side-swiped Boonsboro 57-43 on Wednesday night at Thomas Johnson High School in the East Sectional final.

While Catoctin, the defending West champ, advanced to the region final Friday against Fort Hill, Boonsboro concluded its finest season ever with a 21-4 record, reportedly the first 20-win season in school history.

Both teams were able to perform physically without much whistle-tooting by the officials, although there were extremes when players being shoved on rebounding efforts and knocked to the floor after shot attempts were let go, but traveling calls were not a problem.

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"We think the physical style of play helps us because we're a team that likes to scrap," said Boonsboro coach Max Shaffer. "There were times in the paint it got a little ridiculous when there we no calls. Someone was going to get killed."

Catoctin coach Amy Murray didn't mind the players going at it.

"I think the physical style of play just makes us a better team," she said.

Even Boonsboro's Jerica Hewett, who led the Warriors with 19 points, said afterward, "I've never been down on the floor so much as tonight. It's not basketball if it's not physical, but I had cuts and was bleeding in several places."

Alex Baker had five first-quarter points that helped Boosboro to a 9-8 lead before the Cougars came out to start the second period with a 7-4 burst to take a 15-13 lead with 5:40 left in the half.

Little did the Warriors know they'd not record a field goal the remainder of the half. They fell behind 22-13 on a 3-pointer by Kate Robinson, before Sarah Keyser hit a free throw for Boonsboro. In the last 2:20 of the half, only two free throws by Catoctin's Ashley Metal were tallied and the Cougars led 24-14.

Boonsboro's offense came alive in the third period, but Catoctin matched the Warriors in intensity. Hewett and Baker each diced through traffic and withstood the pounding for six points each, getting the Warriors within seven.

But the final period belonged to Metal, a 6-foot junior who scored nine points in the paint when the Warriors' defenders began sagging behind Catoctin's post players and allowing easier baskets to the point that the Cougars established a 53-38 lead.

"We lost our focus at times, especially in the third period," said Shaffer.

Baker hit a pair of free throws and followed with a 3-pointer after a Catoctin turnover, and it was 53-43 with 1:44 to play with still some hope for Booonsboro.

"When Alex hit the 3 and we got the turnover on them on the inbounds, I knew was still hope, but then we had turnovers," said Shaffer.

Baker hit 6 of 12 from the floor and had 17 points for Boonsboro, while Hewett was 8 of 19. Amy Rhoderick, who did not score, had eight rebounds and Hewett scrambled for seven and had five assists.

"We knew as a team what we had and that we can play at (Catoctin's) level," said Hewett, who also acknowledged the fan support for the Warriors each of their last two games.

"We played hard and did everything in our power," said Shaffer.

Metal and Robinson each scored 14 points for Catoctin. Metal also had 14 rebounds as the Cougars held a 45-31 margin on the glass.

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