Two years ago Middletown broke a lot of Glenelg hearts by defeating the Gladiators in the girls state championship basketball game.
Sowhen the Gladiators beat the Knights, 47-40, Thursday night in the Class 2A Region I semifinals at Glenelg, they took special pleasure ina payback.
"There was a lot of intensity tonight because of that loss to them two years ago," Glenelg's Kristi Moore said.
Thursday's was the kind of game that gives coaches ulcers, a Jekyll-and-Hyde performanceby Glenelg.
Who would have thought that the Gladiators (16-6) could have won by scoring a sickly two points in the second quarter and five in the third quarter?
They did it by scoring a robust 20 points in both the first and fourth quarters.
The fast-paced and physical defensive struggle featured an overall balanced offense from Glenelg, a scrappy squad that had seven players score at least five points.
Glenelg broke fast, soaring to a 20-8 first-quarter lead behindsix points from Moore and five from Sarah Jones.
"I was shocked we were up by 20-8," Moore said.
Third-seeded Middletown (19-5) reached the semifinal with a 51-46 victory over Walkersville Tuesday, while second-seeded Glenelg enjoyed a bye.
The Knights' star player, Tracey Kelly (17 points), who averages 16 points, was held to just two points in the first quarter. Kelly missed two layups and three forced shots in that quarter.
"She was really good, but Sarah (Jones) did an awesome defensive job on her," Moore said.
Kelly and her teammates played intense defense in the second quarter, helped by a 1-2-2 halfcourt trap that gave Glenelg fits. The Gladiators made 12 turnovers that period after making just one in the first period.
By halftime Glenelg's lead shrank to 22-18. Glenelg scored
the first five points in the third quarter, but led only 27-26 at the end of it, and were still bothered by the trap that helped cause seven more turnovers.
"We knew what to do to combat it (the trap), but we just weren't doing it," Glenelg coach Barb Wolf said.
In the fourth quarter, the guard play of Kara Meissner (six points) and Tanissa Dorsey (six points) started to shine.
"The guard play was the difference," Middletown coach Mark Miller said. "Their guards played better down the stretch, while we lost our composure."
After a 15-2 Middletown run late in the third and early in the fourth quarter, the Knights led, 33-29. But that's when Moore (12 points), a center, sparked Glenelg with a driving layup that started 30 feet from the basket.
By the early fourth quarter, the Glads were back up, 35-33.
Middletown rallied again as Glenelg missed five one-and-ones down the stretch.
A layup by Middletown's Rachel Levine (six points) brought her teamwithin three points of Glenelg at 43-40 with 34 seconds left. But with 23 seconds, a free throw by Glenelg's Jenny Leedom (seven points) made it 44-40.
A free throw by Leslie Service (five points), who played her first game for Glenelg after missing three weeks with a broken foot, made it 45-40. Service scored four points in the fourth quarter and played some tough defense on Kelley.
Moore closed the scoring by sinking a rebound.
"I think Middletown thought we weren't very good because they scouted us against Mount Hebron when we lost by 27 points," Meissner said.
"They got cocky."