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Cool Breen lifts Eagles over Cougars

January 25, 2008|By JOHN O'BRIEN / Staff Correspondent

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - As she stared at the rim for an unnaturally long time, it looked as if the frenzied crowd at Jefferson High School might have gotten inside Erin Breen's head.

That is, until she hit the game-winner.

Breen broke a 44-44 tie when she calmly hit two free throws with 6.3 seconds left to lift No. 2 Hedgesville to a 47-44 victory over No. 1 Jefferson in an Apple Valley League game.

Showing a flare for the dramatic, Breen said her pause was merely to remember the basics.

"Basically, I was focusing on practice," said Breen, who scored five points and had not been on the line all game. "I make them in practice. And I was getting the crowd out of my head.

"I like to take my time and take a breath and gain my composure."

And that she did, hitting nothing but the net on her first before getting a friendly roll on the second. Jefferson's attempt at tying the score ended when Aissa Diehl's pass went through Dakeea Marshall's hands and out of bounds with 1.7 seconds left.

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Breen was fouled with 0.9 seconds left and added another free throw, improving the Eagles' record to 13-2 (4-0 AVL). Jefferson fell to 12-2, 3-1.

"This was a big win," Breen said. "They're one of our biggest competitors."

Brittany Kolb led the Eagles with 18 points and Marshall scored a game-high 25 for the Cougars. No other players reached double figures.

The score was close throughout, as the teams were tied at 11 after the first quarter and 21 at halftime. Hedgesville went ahead 33-31 in the third quarter when Kolb scored on a spin move with 6 seconds left.

Jefferson pulled ahead 40-37 on a jumper by Nicole Himes midway through the fourth, but Hedgesville scored the next five to go ahead 42-40.

Marshall tied the game with 1:32 left after coming up with a steal, then Kolb hit 1 of 2 free throws just seconds later. Marshall made a sweeping hook shot as she moved across the lane to give Jefferson another lead, and Jessica Shirley made a free throw to tie it at 44-44 with 29 seconds left.

Greyson Brooks ripped the ball away for the Eagles with 11 seconds left, and they advanced the ball to the frontcourt before calling a timeout. The inbounds play was set up for Breen to break loose from the pack and go in for a left-handed layup.

Once she caught it, Marshall was in her way. Breen said there was "a little bit of contact, but not as much as other plays."

Regardless, a foul was called and Breen went to the line for two pressure-packed shots.

"I've always been pretty steady with that," Breen said. "I've never airballed a free throw. I wasn't worried about that."

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