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Wildcats rally to top Applemen

February 03, 2008|By LARRY YANOS

WILLIAMSPORT - The No. 4 Williamsport boys basketball team roared back from a 19-14 first-quarter deficit Saturday night and defeated Musselman, 67-47.

The No. 5 Applemen played textbook basketball in the first quarter, hitting 9 of 14 shots from the field, but struggled on both ends of the floor in the final 24 minutes of action as Williamsport took command.

Musselman (11-4) did erase a 31-26 halftime deficit to grab a 38-37 lead with 1:41 remaining in the third quarter, but Williamsport (12-2) quickly sealed the verdict in the closing nine minutes.

The Wildcats scored two baskets in the closing 1:41 to grab a 41-38 lead after three quarters, then outscored the Applemen 25-9 in the final eight minutes to coast to the victory.

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In that final segment, Williamsport hit 8 of 13 field goal attempts and 10 of 13 free throws in a dominating performance.

"We really played well after the sluggish start," Williamsport coach Scott Mowbray said. "We showed good balance offensively and I thought we locked them down on defense the final three quarters. The game definitely had a playoff-type atmosphere and I hope this gives us some added confidence."

Mowbray said the fact that Friday's game against Brunswick was postponed due to inclement weather may have helped his ball club.

"Maybe Mother Nature did us a favor," Mowbray said. "The day off apparently did us some good. We allowed them to control the tempo early, but then our guard play came front-and-center. We moved the ball well and got the ball inside to our big men."

Greg Minnick collected 22 points and 10 rebounds and Sean Dixon added 14 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots for the Wildcats.

Musselman never got untracked after playing such a fine first quarter.

"We got away from our game plan, forced some shots, and couldn't settle in," acting head coach Ryan Lawn said. "The foul trouble, rushing shots, missed opportunities, we're a much better team than we showed tonight."

Lawn, an assistant on the Musselman staff, was filling in for head varsity coach Derrick Basile, who was sidelined with some health concerns.

"(Williamsport is) tough, they can do a lot of things with the basketball," Lawn said. "We just couldn't stop them."

Williamsport gets another challenge on Monday -- visiting Fort Hill. The Sentinels and Greencastle have handed the Wildcats their only losses on the season.

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