N. Carroll clinches crown No. 12 Panthers repeat with ease, beat Cavs, 55-26

February 19, 1993|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Staff Writer

North Carroll took a walk in the park last night en route to a 55-26 victory over South Carroll that clinched the Carroll County girls basketball championship for the Panthers.

It was the second straight county girls title for North Carroll and third-year coach Greg Knill.

Seldom has a team waltzed to a championship easier than 12th- ranked North Carroll (16-5, 5-0 in county) did against the lackluster Cavaliers.

South Carroll (9-10, 3-3) had won three games in a row and was doing almost everything right, setting the stage for what was expected to be a close duel.

But the Cavaliers simply went cold from the field and scored only 12 points in the second half.

The mood was set for the evening when South Carroll needed nearly four minutes to score a point in the first quarter.

The win came so handily that there was no celebration from the Panthers at the end.

"I don't want to take anything away from winning the county title," said Knill. "But our goal is to get one step farther than we were last year when we lost to Middletown in the opening round of the regionals."

Knill said his players were well aware they had won the county title.

"We talked about it at halftime," said Knill. "But we don't want to lose sight of the regionals."

The suspense ended early when Michele Jeffery scored eight points in the first quarter to pace North Carroll to a 15-5 lead.

Jeffery would score only one more point the rest of the evening as Knill continued his pattern of resting his starters often.

Ashlee Douglas led the Panthers with a game-high 12 points, scoring eight in the second half.

L Jill Ballard added 10 and Jeffery had nine for the Panthers.

"South Carroll had a rough second half," said Knill. "But they have heart and a good future. I'm not going to change my recipe for getting all the players involved in the game. I thought everybody contributed tonight."

Only two South Carroll players, Molly Cage and Erin Nauyalis, scored as many as six points.

The telling blow for the Cavaliers was the failure of sophomore point guard Amber Clutter to get involved in the offense.

Clutter, who scored 19 points last week in an upset victory over Frederick, took only one shot last night and had one point.

"We reverted back to our old form," said South Carroll coach Al Skierski. "They [North Carroll] out- hustled us and out-muscled us. We threw the ball to the basket instead of shooting it. When you're a young team like ours, you're going to have this kind of inconsistency."

Clutter said she didn't shoot last night "because I think pass first. I was trying but didn't shoot."

Skierski said: "This was a classic example of what I've been saying all year about our team. We're in trouble when Amber gives the ball up and doesn't get it back."

Clutter didn't play at all in the fourth quarter, as South Carroll had fallen behind 40-20 after three quarters.

"When we're going to lose, I'm not going to worry about keeping a starter in the game," said Skierski. "I decided to give the other players a chance."

Despite the dismal showing last night, Skierski said the Cavaliers are still headed for the state Class 3A Region III playoffs and most likelywill meet Carver in the opening round.

"Carver is finished for the season and they're fourth-seeded in the region and we're fifth," said the coach. "We're going to have to play at their court."

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