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Rockets fueled by display in loss

January 11, 2007|by CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - To see and hear the postgame reactions of the head coaches in Wednesday night's Mid-Penn nondivision game between Northern York and James Buchanan are misleading.

Despite falling 63-55 to the Polar Bears, JB coach Kylie Raymo was all smiles and delighted with what she'd just seen.

"This is one of our better games. This was us playing well," Raymo said. "You usually won't see a coach this happy after a loss, but I am."

On the other side was Northern coach Gene Below, who was thoroughly disappointed with his team's performance - with the exception of a couple of players.

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"More than anything, I'm frustrated that we played down to (JB's) level," Below said. "We had two girls that actually wanted to play tonight - (Ashley) Musser and (Samantha) Nicodemus. The other girls came down here happy-go-lucky, just going through the motions. They came in thinking that JB has a bad team and we'd already won."

The Polar Bears (5-9) couldn't know for sure they'd win until they dribbled out the last 20 seconds on the clock. Northern led for the entire second half but JB was resilient, continually chopping away at a lead that grew to 12 points.

The Rockets (2-10) were within 47-46 at the start of the fourth quarter, but Northern responded with nine of the next 11 points to pad the lead, 56-48.

JB surged once again when Jenny McDaniel hit a pair of layups, followed by a 10-foot jump shot by Brittany Harryman from the right baseline to cut it to 56-54. The Rockets had the ball to tie or take the lead when Raymo called a full timeout with 2:03 left.

"I basically just let them go. I let them just play the game," Below said. "But once it got close - it shouldn't have been that close - I told them they need to step it up because we could've actually lost the game."

Out of the timeout, Nicodemus stole the ball and outran the Rockets in transition for a layup and a 58-54 lead. JB threw the ball away on its next possession, leading to a 3-pointer by Musser and a 61-54 Polar Bears lead with just over a minute remaining.

Musser scorched the Rockets with seven 3s and a game-high 25 points. Nicodemus scored 19 - with 15 coming in the first half - and Jackie Boone added 10.

"What hurt us is how well they shot from the field," Raymo said. "We were in a zone in the first half and had our guards sitting back, worrying about their post player. We adjusted that in the second half and you could see that we were playing better. But the buckets just fell for them."

Some of the Rockets' success in the loss could be attributed to its younger players having fresher legs because. There was no junior varsity game and freshman Sarah Harryman - one of the key JV players for the Rockets - saw extended varsity action and finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.

"A lot of these girls play a full JV game before playing the varsity game. Since there wasn't a (JV game) tonight, some of them were able to contribute a little more."

McDaniel led the Rockets with 14 points, Brittany Harryman had nine and Carrie Yeatts added eight.

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