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'Cats, Eagles travel different routes to final destination

December 28, 2007|By LARRY YANOS

WILLIAMSPORT - The Williamsport and Hedgesville girls basketball teams used contrasting styles Thursday to win opening-round games of the 27th annual Richard E. Doub Classic.

The host Wildcats (2-5) led from start to finish in easily defeating Broadfording Christian Academy 54-20, while Hedgesville almost wasted a 33-12 halftime advantage before beating Mountain Ridge, 58-52.

Williamsport (2-5) and Hedgesville (5-2) will compete for the championship today at 3 p.m., following the consolation contest between Broadfording (6-6) and Mountain Ridge (3-2).

"I saw some good things out there, especially the efforts of our younger players," Williamsport coach Chris Malott said.

Junior Kelly Beard and senior Morgan Smith scored 11 points each in the first half as Williamsport gained a 34-8 halftime advantage. The big lead allowed Malott to use a variety of combinations in the final 16 minutes.

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Young players such as freshmen Kayla Ewing and Trisha Leigh and sophomore Brittany Weaver made significant contributions.

"I was especially impressed with Ewing," Malott said. "She was up from the junior varsity and made her varsity debut with two points and eight rebounds."

The production from the bench is exactly what Malott needs as the regular-season schedule resumes in January.

"We have a nice starting five, but we're always looking for help off the bench," Malott said. "You never have enough depth. That leads to having a good team."

Smith had an outstanding overall game - 17 points, 10 rebounds and two steals - and Beard added 11 points and five rebounds. Jessica Ellis had 10 points and six steals and Brittany Malott had seven rebounds for the Wildcats.

Malott knows he needs a solid effort to beat Hedgesville today.

"(Hedgesville) impressed me," Malott said. "They are physically strong and play hard. I've never seen a better passing team."

Katie Connolly had 10 points and Emily Stransky scored nine for Broadfording

"We played hard, but they were very tough," Broadfording coach Harry Barnett said. "I was pleased with Emily Stransky, she did a nice job rebounding. And Katie Connolly continues to be impressive. She is only an eighth-grader."

Tessa Deneen led Hedgesville with 13 points.

"A tale of two halves," Hedgesville coach Ben Merica said. "We got complacent with the big lead and let them back in the game. We forced too many passes and got away from the things we were doing well. We stopped running the offense and forced too many passes."

Holly Williams led Mountain Ridge's comeback attempt, scoring 22 of her 26 points in the second half.

"We weren't ready to play in the first half, but we stepped it up on the second half," Williams said. "This is my high game for the year. I had 27 against East Hardy last year."

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