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'Dogs complete surprising run to states

February 28, 2007|by JOHN O'BRIEN / Staff Correspondent

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - Not for a second did Martinsburg's girls basketball team think its offense would carry it to the state tournament.

Turns out the Bulldogs were right, and Hampshire found out the hard way.

Dakeea Marshall scored 21 points, Iesha Robinson added 16 and the Bulldogs held Hampshire without a field goal over the final 9:39 of Tuesday's 53-45 overtime win in the Region II championship.

Defense, the sophomore Robinson said, was the key.

"We never count on our offense, only defense," she said. "Everybody played good defense tonight."

Robinson hit the game-tying shot late in the fourth and the go-ahead basket early in overtime as the Bulldogs (12-10) limited the Trojans to 32 percent shooting while forcing 20 turnovers, ending the school's dream season at 18-3.

"It's a tough one to swallow," Hampshire coach Butch Kuykendall said.

Especially considering the Trojans held a seven-point lead late in the third quarter before going cold. Julieanne Buckley's basket gave them a 34-27 lead with 1:45 left in the third before the Bulldogs erupted with a 12-2 run to take the lead.

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Marshall scored twice before Hampshire's Ashley Heavener recorded a putback basket to make it 36-31. Martinsburg freshman Shaniece Nunn cut the lead to three with a jumper 12 seconds before the buzzer.

When the fourth started, Robinson scored in transition and Marshall scored a free throw and a three-point play to put the Bulldogs on top, 39-36.

Buckley, who had a team-high 18 points and 11 rebounds, scored off a pass from Heavener with 5:39 left in the game, and it would be Hampshire's last bucket.

The offense Martinsburg does not rely on was just reliable enough. Both teams went scoreless for almost four minutes before Lesley Swisher hit two foul shots to give Hampshire a 40-39 lead with 1:52 remaining, and Buckley added another free throw 40 seconds later for a 41-39 lead.

Robinson, though, gathered the rebound on Buckley's second free throw and raced to the other end, hitting a game-tying layup. Hampshire's Cali Alkire was called for traveling with 25 seconds left to give Martinsburg the last shot in regulation - a missed 3-pointer by ShaRonda McDowell.

In overtime, Robinson hit a tiebreaking runner with 3:27 remaining before Marshall hit two free throws, blocked Heavener from behind on an open layup and added a free throw for a 46-41 lead with 1:33 left.

Coupling defensive stops and 10 made free throws, Martinsburg extended the lead despite making only one shot in overtime. Overall, Martinsburg made 21 of 33 free throws and shot only 33 percent from the floor.

"That's just the way we've played all year," said Martinsburg coach Beth Sedlar, who earned her first regional championship in three tries. "Once again, our girls were very gutsy and continued to play hard."

Marshall added 11 rebounds and Robinson collected nine.

Heavener had 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Trojans, who didn't help their cause by shooting 10 of 21 from the free-throw line.

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