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Wildcats bounced in section title game

March 07, 2008|By DAN KAUFFMAN

WILLIAMSPORT - Williamsport boys basketball coach Scott Mowbray made clear his opinion that the absence of injured center Greg Minnick was not a factor in Thursday night's 49-37 loss to Poolesville in the Maryland Class 1A West East Sectional final.

"Greg being hurt is not the reason we lost, and I don't care what anyone else thinks," he said.

And in a way, he's right - because it would be an injustice to Poolesville to overlook how well the Falcons played.

Poolesville (16-9) executed its halfcourt offense with patience the entire night - never settling for a bad shot - and finished 13-for-25 from the floor. On defense, the Falcons' matchup zone gave Williamsport (19-5) few easy opportunities. And when the game came down to foul shooting, Poolesville made 15 of 18 in the fourth quarter to put the Wildcats away.

"They have a nice team," Mowbray said. "They put five guys on the floor who can pass, catch and shoot the ball. They had good discipline. They're a good team."

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After taking an 8-7 lead through one quarter, the Falcons started to take control in the second, making 5 of 6 shots and both of their free throws to open up a 21-13 lead at the break. Williamsport made just 3 of 7 shots, did not attempt a free throw and had seven of its 18 turnovers in the period.

"You can't have as many turnovers as we did," Mowbray said.

Poolesville started the second half on a 9-3 run to make the score 30-16 with 4:30 left in the third quarter, and the Falcons' lead never dropped below eight points after that.

If that wasn't enough, the Falcons even had a little luck on their side. Backup forward Dane Hanslom beat the halfcourt buzzer with a tough shot from the right wing, and in the third quarter, Chris Soper lost the ball going up for a shot, only to have it go in.

"It wasn't our night tonight," Mowbray said.

On a night the Wildcats desperately needed someone to step to the forefront offensively, no one was able to. Sean Dixon, Eric Wilfong and A.J. Jamison each had seven points and Colby McCauley added six, but most of those points proved to be a struggle.

"The last three weeks, we've been disastrous attacking zones," Mowbray said. "We really couldn't find a consistent shooter. ... We just didn't get the guard play we needed with Greg out of the lineup. We didn't have the play out front to offset what we were missing inside.

"It's a disappointing way to end the year, but what a great group of guys. These are fine young men and hard workers. They may have come up short in their goals this season, but they'll achieve many goals the rest of their lives."

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