Broadneck girls basketball coach Bruce Springer had more than a few reasons for knowing last night's 45-38 Bay Division victory over North County would be his Bruins' toughest so far.
Not only were the Knights (2-2) coming off of an upset loss to previously winless Arundel, but they still were aching from their last meeting with the Bruins(3-0), a 51-34 loss in last year's Class 4A Region IV semifinal.
"I remember that game like it was yesterday. We got an 10-0 lead in the first quarter, but they came back," said Springer, whose Bruins outscored Queen Anne's and South River by a combined 102-42 in their first two games.
"At the end, the difference was that we made our foul shots. This game was very similar."
After the Knights' Becky Webb (nine points) tied the game at 38 on her team's final bucket with 1 minute, 15 seconds left in the game, Broadneck's Michelle Meyer(10 points, seven rebounds) gave the Bruins a 40-38 lead.
That's when the Knights sent the wrong person -- the Bruins' 6-foot-1 centerJen Chapman (11 points, nine rebounds) -- to the line late in the game. Chapman, who scored seven fourth-quarter points, was fouled whilescoring the Bruins' 42nd, and sank her free throw for a three-point play.
Chapman, who is bound for the University of Vermont on a full basketball scholarship, was nailed again in the backcourt and made her sixth and seventh free throws with two seconds left.
"I wasn'tany good at those last year, so I've been spending the last 20 or sominutes of practice on them," said Chapman, who was 7-for-7 at the line. "I'm glad it paid off."
While Chapman struggled over the first three quarters, she had help from 5-10 senior forward Sarah Bannatt(nine each in points and rebounds), and Meyer, who sparked a 14-2 run in the third quarter that turned an 18-16 deficit into a 30-20 leadwith three minutes left in the first half.
"We were making some crucial mistakes at that point," said North County coach Sally Entsminger. "And we weren't shooting well enough to overcome them."
NorthCounty shot well enough in the first period to gain an 8-4 lead. TheBruins had come out pressing defensively, but the Knights were able to pass around it.
The thievery of Tonya Kolodziejski (six points)led to her team's first pair of baskets. She stole the first at halfcourt, sprinted through the lane and gave her team a 2-0 lead with 7:43 left. After the second steal, she passed to teammate Renita Johnson (13 points, two blocks) for a 4-2 advantage.
Broadneck nearly broke the game open in the second period, but the Knights, who droppedtheir previous game to Arundel, 50-47, tied it at 16 at halftime. Missy Lewandowski's bucket and Nikki Greene's two free throws made it 16-12 for Broadneck, but Kolodziejski went inside with 26 seconds leftand a put-back at the buzzer by 5-11 sophomore Joy Farmer (eight points, 10 rebounds) tied the game.
In the third period, it was Farmer's four points and a bucket from Johnson that helped the Knights close to 30-27, but the Bruins, with 11 returnees from last year, got help from reserves like Amy Chaney.