For more than a week, Glenelg High School's girls basketball team had been hit by a case of the flu that left few of its players untouched.
Friday afternoon at Oakland Mills, the Gladiators may have found a temporary cure. For most of the second half, they couldn't cut into the nine-point deficit they had stumbled into by halftime. Then Glenelg staged a remarkable rally behind forward Leslie Service, whose clutch play sparked the Gladiators to a 50-49, double-overtime victory.
The Gladiators (4-2 in county, 10-3 overall) handed Oakland Mills its first defeat of the season, giving first-year coach Barb Wolf the biggest victory of her young career. The Scorpions (5-1, 13-1) had been the league's lone unbeaten team.
FOR THE RECORD - The headline on an article about the Glenelg-Oakland Mills girls basketball game that appeared in The Howard County Sun on Sunday, Jan. 27, was incorrect. The headline should have read: "Glenelg breaks Oakland Mills' perfect streak."
The Howard County Sun regrets the error.
Glenelg trailed the Scorpions, 39-31, with three minutes to play in regulation, and showedno signs of making a comeback. The Gladiators had struggled badly inthe second quarter, committing 12 turnovers against the Scorpions' pressure defense and allowing a 10-10 game to turn into a 25-16 halftime Oakland Mills lead. The Scorpions held the Gladiators at bay for the third quarter and the first six minutes of the fourth, never leading by less than six.
Service, a 5-foot-10 senior forward who battled Oakland Mills forward Christine Copeland down low, did not score her first basket until 3:24 remained in the fourth period. But after Kara Meissner hit her second three-point shot of the game to pull Glenelg to within 39-34 with 1:13 left --the closest Glenelg had been since the second period -- Oakland Mills called a timeout, and Service took over.
She scored the final six points in regulation, which ended in a 40-40 deadlock. Service then hit a 10-foot baseline shot withsix seconds remaining in the first overtime to tie it at 44-44 and force another overtime period. Her eight-footer tied the game again at46-46, and with 14 seconds left, Service calmly sank both ends of a one-and-one to win the game.
She scored 14 points in crunch time, going 4-for-4 from the floor and 6-for-6 from the foul line from the fourth quarter on. Service also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds and down the stretch outplayed the bigger, stronger Copeland.
"Every time I play against her (Copeland), she's always the one who gets the big rebound or comes up with the loose ball," Service said. "I wanted to get the best of her for a change.
"We were shaky in the beginning. We've been sick for over a week. Four of our starters are sick, and it's really hurt us in practice," she added. "We knew we didn't play well in the first half, and really not until the fourth quarter. We had to turn up our intensity."
Meissner scored 14 points and hadfour steals for Glenelg. Sarah Jones had eight points, and Tanissa Dorsey had eight points, five rebounds and three assists.
Oakland Mills' Stefanie Magro led all scorers with 17 points and a game-high seven steals. Mia Dammen had 12 points, nine rebounds and five steals.Copeland had seven points and 11 rebounds. Andrea Romich had nine points and 11 rebounds.
The game largely resembled last year's two Gladiators-Scorpions clashes -- sloppy and physical.
Last year, theScorpions pulled out both games on last-second shots, and Friday's game bore a striking similarity to the one played at Oakland Mills last winter. In that contest, Copeland's 10-foot baseline jumper at the buzzer beat Glenelg by a basket.
Suzanne Willis took a shot with three seconds left in regulation Friday almost at the spot from where Copeland launched her game-winner. This time, the ball rolled along the rim before falling away at the buzzer.
"We went from playing OKto outstanding just like that. It was nothing I said," said Wolf.