Eagles win eighth straight

February 09, 2007|by JOHN O'BRIEN / Staff Correspondent

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - Two teams heading in opposite directions looked like just that in the second half of their game Thursday night.

Brittany Boarman and Ashton Butler each scored 13 points and No. 2 Hedgesville claimed its eighth straight victory with a 50-33 win over No. 6 Jefferson, which has lost five of its last six games after a strong start.

The Eagles trailed by a point at halftime but dominated the third quarter, then easily pulled away for the double-digit victory that clinched a sectional bye when the three-team playoff begins later this month.

"It's a good feeling to have, certainly," said Eagles coach Ben Merica, whose team improved to 14-4 and hasn't lost a game to sectional opponents Jefferson and Martinsburg since 2003 - a span of 18 games.


Meanwhile, the Cougars (11-9) fell apart in the second half and scored only 13 points after leading 20-19 at halftime. Katie Danno, who averaged 20 points in her previous two games, fouled out early in the fourth quarter and scored only five points - all on free throws.

"We didn't quite get into the flow with our starting lineup in the second half," Jefferson coach Peachie Diehl said. "I put Katie Danno in the lineup and then she was right back sitting next to me.

"That affects you mentally, when you're in the second half and you have a starter out of the game."

Kaitlin Thorsell led the Cougars with nine points. Without her 4-of-9 shooting performance, the Cougars shot 8 of 40 (20 percent). Martinsburg also shot 16 more free throws than Jefferson.

"We knew we had to play a pressure ballgame, and we certainly did," Diehl said. "Hedgesville doesn't like the press as much as they like taking their time and setting up their offense."

The Eagles had a difficult time doing that in the first half, as Jefferson took a 20-15 lead with 1:40 remaining until halftime on Nicole Himes' jumper. Hedgesville made only one of its first nine shots in the game and shot 25 percent in the first half.

"We didn't look like we knew what our offense was," Merica said.

But two final-minute buckets cut the deficit to one at the break and the surge continued when the second half started.

Down 28-25, Hedgesville went on an 11-0 run that started with Butler's jumper with 3:01 left and continued with a short jumper from Ciera Nicholson, who scored 10 points.

Butler scored off a long pass on a side inbounds play, Boarman scored inside and Butler found Nicholson on a pick-and-roll play for a layup that made it 35-28 with 4 seconds left in the third. Butler hit a free throw in the fourth that capped the run.

The Eagles built on the lead by hitting 11 of 16 free throws in the final quarter, including 7 of 8 from Lauren Ashton, who scored nine points.

Aissa Diehl had six points and five rebounds. Danno had a team-high seven boards.

Nicholson grabbed 11 and Butler six for Hedgesville, which outrebounded the Cougars, 30-27.

The Herald-Mail Articles