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Wildcats slip past Warriors the hard way

January 06, 2007|by CHRIS CARTER/Staff Correspondent

WILLIAMSPORT - After a 14-point loss to Catoctin earlier this week, Williamsport girls basketball coach Chris Malott issued fair warning to all of his players.

"I told them if you're going to play like that, then don't bother showing up," Malott said. "If you're going to lose, then do it playing hard."

The Wildcats showed up Friday night against Boonsboro, meaning they would have to play hard, win or lose, and it resulted in an impressive 52-42 MVAL Antietam win over the Warriors.

"We've underachieved so far," Malott said. "(Against Catoctin) we got outhustled, but tonight we outhustled Boonsboro and it paid off."

Lindsey Smith and Hannah Petro led with 11 points each as eight different Wildcats scored. Morgan Smith and Leah Mellott each had nine. Cayla Broadwater added six points and nine rebounds - seven coming in the second half.

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"It was a total team effort. We have nine kids that can come in an play at any time," Malott said. "(Broadwater's) best days are ahead of her and she's only going to blossom. And Jess Palmer is the best defender in the county. She doesn't care about scoring, she just plays tough defense."

Palmer had the difficult responsibility of handling Boonsboro's versatile guard Jerica Hewett for much of the game. Hewett was held to just eight points until going on a late tear in the fourth quarter to score a team-high 14.

The Wildcats (4-4, 1-1) went with a triangle-and-two for most of the game to contain Hewett and Alex Baker.

"Coach (Kevin) Murphy came to me Tuesday and said, 'Why not play a triangle-and-two?'" Malott said. "So we put it in Wednesday and Thursday and worked on it in practice. We noticed it was working, so we stuck with it."

Baker was held to just three points, which came after Williamsport jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead in the first quarter. The Warriors (5-3, 2-1) took a brief lead, before Lindsey Smith closed the first quarter with a turn-around layup in transition to give Williamsport a 14-12 lead.

"Boonsboro is a big rival for us and we came in ready to play," said Lindsey Smith, who matched up with Warriors center Amy Rhoderick and grabbed eight rebounds. "It was a battle on the inside, I just kept doing drop steps."

The Wildcats opened up the lead in the second quarter despite the Smith sisters - nicknamed by some as the Twin Towers of Power - frequently substituting in-and-out of the game. But Petro came of the bench to score five points and make two steals as at the Wildcats created a 29-19 lead at halftime.

"Williamsport played well. I heard them say that was the best half they've played all year," said Boonsboro coach Max Shaffer.

Williamsport upped the lead to 40-27 after the third quarter with Broadwater and Lindsey Smith leading the way with four points each.

The Wildcats led by as many as 19 in the fourth quarter until Boonsboro surged behind Hewett and Rhoderick. Trailing 49-31, the Warriors went on a 10-1 run - three baskets by Hewett and two by Rhoderick - to cut the deficit to 50-41 with 1:41 left in the game. But the Warriors got no closer.

"We're not playing together as a team right now. It's not team basketball," Shaffer said. "We have too many individuals and the chemistry is not there. Last year we would be slapping hands after a good play, but this year we're not doing those things. We have a long way to go."

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