North Carroll slump continues, 59-54

February 11, 1993|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Staff Writer

A perplexing slump continued for the North Carroll girls basketball team last night.

The Panthers, who have dropped from sixth to 12th in the rankings, lost their third straight game, falling to host Damascus, 59-54, in a non-league game that was close most of the way.

In the end, Damascus (12-4) had too much outside shooting from Theresa Arnett (game-high 25 points) and too much inside power from 6-foot Kristi Geary (six points, 10 rebounds, three blocked shots) for North Carroll.

The Panthers (13-5) trailed by only one, 47-46, with 6:41 left in the game when trouble began to set in.

Damascus scored five straight points over the next 1:50 to pull ahead 52-46, and North Carroll never completely recovered.

During the Hornets' spurt, the Panthers' starters were surprisingly on the bench.

North Carroll coach Greg Knill started all reserves at the beginning of the fourth quarter and they kept the game close for two minutes before allowing the home team's spurt.

"I was just experimenting," Knill said of his decision to have leading scorers Michele Jeffery (23 points) and Ashlee Douglas (13) on the bench for the first 5:45 of the fourth quarter along with the three other starters. "There was no special reason for it."

Knill started sending his starters back in with four minutes left and had all of them in the game with 3:15 remaining. Jeffery and Douglas were the last two to return to the lineup.

A layup by Douglas with 1:47 left reduced the Damascus lead to 56-52, but the Panthers went the next 1:38 without scoring a point.

During that dry spell, Jenny Baker missed a three-point attempt for the Panthers, and they made some poor decisions on defense.

That allowed Arnett to wrap up the victory with two free throws on a one-and-one situation with 22 seconds left for a 58-52 lead.

"We're thinking too much instead of just playing the game," Knill said of his team's slump. "We're losing our flow and rhythm for the game. But the bottom line is we lost to a good team on their court. It's tough to win on the road against a team like Damascus."

The Hornets, ranked second in their region, are headed for the state Class 2A playoffs.

Douglas, known for her second-half heroics, led North Carroll on a third-quarter surge that cut a nine-point Damascus lead (37-28 with 5:30 left in the period) to 43-40 with 1:15 remaining.

Douglas scored eight points in the third quarter and Jeffery had five, as the Panthers were in range at the end of the third quarter, trailing 45-42.

But neither player was on the court at the start of the fourth quarter.

"I was a little surprised not to see the starters out there for North Carroll," said Damascus coach Barb King. "I figured he was saving them.

"It was just a big victory for us over a strong team. We're finally figuring out ways to win close games these days after having trouble earlier in the year."

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