Eagles get one that should have got away

January 18, 2007|by JOHN O'BRIEN / Staff Correspondent

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Hedgesville girls basketball coach Ben Merica admits his team didn't deserve to win Wednesday night against Martinsburg.

A couple of times, he probably even thought it wouldn't.

But Brittany Boarman scored 12 points, Ciara Nicholson added 10 and Martinsburg couldn't take advantage of a few late-game breaks as the Eagles defeated their sectional rivals, 41-39 in an Apple Valley League game.

The Eagles led by 16 with four minutes remaining in the third quarter before going into the tank offensively. They scored only eight points in the game's final 12 minutes as Martinsburg slowly crawled back into contention.

"(Assistant coach Denny Fiery) was sitting over on the bench midway third quarter and leaned over and said we didn't deserve to win this basketball game," said Merica, whose team improved to 8-4, 2-0. "Then we're sitting there and we said it again in the fourth quarter.


"By God, it was almost brought to fruition."

It didn't, though, because Martinsburg went scoreless over the final 1:50.

Martinsburg's Iesha Robinson missed an open fast-break layup after a steal that would have tied the game at 41-41 with 45 seconds left.

And, after having to foul three times just to be in the penalty, Martinsburg watched as Ashton Butler missed the front end of a one-and-one with 7.2 seconds left. The Bulldogs (5-6, 2-2) pushed the ball up the court, but ShaRonda McDowell bounced a final 3-pointer off the back of the rim.

"We had a lot of chances," Martinsburg coach Beth Sedlar said. "Iesha had the layup, ShaRonda had a shot ... These kids battled. I have to give them credit."

Lauren Ashton's layup gave the Eagles a 33-17 lead with 4:30 left in the third quarter, but the Bulldogs closed it to 35-24 by the end of the quarter, thanks to a 7-0 spurt that featured one of Tiffany Farmer's two 3-pointers.

The lead moved to 13 points on Butler's turnaround jumper with 6:10 left before Martinsburg countered with 11 straight points. Robinson had five points during the run, including a 3-pointer from the right side that made it 39-37 with 3:21 left.

Butler hit a long jumper 20 seconds later, then Dakeea Marshall connected, making it 41-39 and closing the scoring with 1:50 left.

"We just couldn't put the ball in the hole," said Merica, whose team scored only 12 second-half points and shot 24 percent after halftime. "How many layups did we miss in that second half?"

Robinson had 14 points, and Marshall added 11 points and 13 rebounds.

The Bulldogs had 19 turnovers, 14 in the first half. Sedlar attributed the ball-control problems to having a week in between games.

"Sometimes, a week off is a blessing and sometimes it's a curse," she said. "It wasn't Hedgesville's pressure forcing that. That was Martinsburg's girls team stopping Martinsburg's girls team."

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