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Maidens earn District 3 berth

January 30, 2007|by CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Waynesboro sophomore Kelsey Wagaman has struggled recently with her jump shooting, but if anything was going to lift her out of the slump, it was the first quarter of the Maidens' Mid-Penn Capital girls matchup against rival Greencastle-Antrim on Monday night.

Wagaman hit four baskets in the first 6 1/2 minutes - three on jump shots from the right wing - and Waynesboro surged in the second half to top the Blue Devils, 50-41.

"I haven't been shooting well lately," said Wagaman, who finished with a game-high 17 points. "Tonight, I decided I was going to shoot early and I got some confidence going, so I kept shooting."

Wagaman favored the wings in her shot selection, going 4-for-6 from mid-range, while adding four points in the paint. She went to the foul line eight times and made five.

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The win put the Maidens in the PIAA District 3 playoffs for the first time since the 1980s.

"It's really exciting. We haven't been there in forever," Wagaman said.

Waynesboro (11-8, 8-2) clinched a Mid-Penn playoff berth after last Wednesday's win over Big Spring and another win would secure the Maidens' first winning season since 1999.

"We knew coming in that one more win would qualify us for districts," said Waynesboro coach Doug Stuart. "Our goals this season were to make the Mid-Penn playoffs and make it into districts and we've done both."

As has been the theme in their victories this season, the Maidens used a strong second half to take control - though not before closing the first half strong.

Waynesboro's other sophomore guard, Jenna Lininger, hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key and added a running 16-foot jumper at the halftime buzzer for the last five points to pull the Maidens into a 23-23 tie.

Waynesboro hit 6 of 13 shots in the third quarter - Mallory Wishard led the way with seven points - and outscored the Blue Devils 16-9 to take a 39-32 lead into the final period. Wishard finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds and Lininger added 12 points for the Maidens.

"Normally when we have three kids in double figures, we're pretty successful," Stuart said. "We felt pretty confident at halftime because we're a good second-half team. We've been especially good in the third quarter."

Waynesboro played keep-away for 2 1/2 minutes of its first fourth-quarter possession and the Maidens upped their lead to 42-32 on a basket by Wishard with four minutes left.

Meanwhile, the Blue Devils (5-15, 3-6) didn't make a fourth-quarter shot until Rebecca Rider hit a leaning 12-footer with 22 seconds left. Greencastle shot 2-for-14 in the final period and 6-for-31 in the second half. No better, the Blue Devils hit only 6 of 17 shots from the free-throw line.

"It's declined over the year," Greencastle coach Tara Runkles said of the Blue Devils' foul shooting. "It's not like we're practicing any less. I think it's our focus. We don't focus for 32 minutes."

Rider led the Blue Devils with 13 points.

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