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Bulldogs nearly pay for poor shooting from free-throw line

February 06, 2007|by JOHN O'BRIEN / Staff Correspondent

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Martinsburg girls basketball coach Beth Sedlar hasn't run out of words to describe her team's fourth-quarter free-throw shooting, she's just getting tired of having to use the same one.

"It was another atrocious performance," Sedlar said after her team was again able to overcome its free throw-shooting woes in a 59-57 win at Berkeley Springs on Monday night.

"We can't stick it in."

The Bulldogs were just 7 of 21 from the line in the fourth quarter of a 47-39 win over Jefferson on Friday, then followed it with a 3-for-8 performance - including two missed front ends of 1-and-1s - Monday against the Indians.

Only Jamie Hill's bucket with 6.7 seconds left kept Martinsburg (8-9) from heading to overtime against Berkeley Springs (11-8), which trailed by as many as 15 in the fourth quarter.

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"We're trying to give each other confidence (at the free throw line)," said point guard ShaRonda McDowell, who helped shoot the Indians out of their zone defenses with three 3-pointers but then missed all three of her free throws in the fourth quarter. "Sometimes, they go in and sometimes they go out."

It was McDowell who found Hill for the winning basket after Amber Booher tied the game at 57-57 with a three-point play with 13.2 seconds left.

After a timeout, McDowell took the inbounds pass and found Hill behind the full-court press.

"Coach said we needed to get the ball in, get a good shot and not rush," McDowell said. "I saw Jamie and I just threw it long. I took a chance it would get deflected or she'd catch it and score."

"Our steal man just didn't get back quite quick enough," Berkeley Springs coach Dale McCumbee added. "We didn't want them to run the clock down and score and us not get a chance to send it to overtime. But I didn't expect them to score that quickly."

Alex Tamez' 3-pointer from the right wing glanced off the front of the rim as time expired, giving Martinsburg a bittersweet win.

"It wasn't a good win, and it wasn't a bad win," said McDowell, who scored 11 points.

Iesha Robinson also had 11 for the Bulldogs, and Dakeea Marshall added 10 with 13 rebounds.

Rebecca Trump keyed the Indians' run, scoring 10 of her game-high 20 points in the fourth. Ashley Hovermale scored 14, making 4 of 6 3-pointers. Booher put in 12 points as Berkeley Springs shot 40 percent (20 of 50).

Down 50-35 with 7:05 remaining, Trump hit a 3-pointer to start a 16-4 run that concluded with a Kelsey McCoy free throw with 1:07 remaining that cut the Bulldogs' lead to 54-51.

Shaniece Nunn provided a welcome sight for Sedlar by hitting two free throws a few seconds later, but after a Berkeley springs turnover, McDowell missed the front end of a one-and-one.

Booher made a free throw with 43.8 left that made it 56-52 before McDowell missed a pair, and Tamez made a driving layup to cut the lead to two.

Robinson made only 1 of 2 free throws with 26.8 left, and Booher tied it 13 seconds later.

"On our part, we slacked up on defense the rest of the game because we got up big," McDowell said.

Marshall and Robinson eventually fouled out, and Sedlar wasn't too thrilled with her team's chances had the game made it to overtime - especially if the Indians would be putting them on the line.

"Free throws are 85 percent mental and 15 percent technique," she said. "I could get somebody's grandma to get up there and hit free throws, but if they don't think they can do it mentally, they're not gonna hit it."

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