South Carroll romps, 59-46, advances to 3A semifinals

March 01, 1994|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Sun Staff Writer

BETHESDA -- South Carroll did what many people thought to be impossible last night.

The Cavaliers trounced Walter Johnson, 59-46, in the opening round of the girls Class 3A West Regional basketball tournament with standout junior center Nicole Spencer sitting on the bench most of the second half with four fouls.

Spencer, 5 feet 10, scored two points in the second half after getting seven in the first quarter, but junior teammates Amber Clutter and Melissa Gettemy stepped forward with scintillating performances to carry the fifth-seeded Cavaliers past the fourth-seeded Wildcats at Walter Johnson.

Clutter and Gettemy combined for 13 points in the third quarter when South Carroll (14-6) took control of the game with a 12-0 run at the start of the quarter.

That surge wiped out a 28-23 lead by Walter Johnson (13-7) and carried South Carroll into tomorrow night's 3A West semifinals against top-seeded Walt Whitman, which is ranked second in the Washington metro area.

Clutter finished with 23 points, Gettemy had 15 and Spencer had nine.

In typical fashion, the Cavaliers came out cold and fell behind 11-8.

Spencer collected three quick fouls in the second quarter to run her total to four.

However, Clutter began to get hot in the second quarter, hitting three three-pointers in a 10-point effort to keep the Cavaliers close.

The 12-0 run by South Carroll at the start of the third quarter seemed to unnerve Walter Johnson and its scoring leader, Sarah Greenwald (16 points).

The Wildcats went to Greenwald often inside the rest of the half, but she missed several high-percentage shots.

When Walter Johnson fell behind 54-38 with 3:06 left in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats needed a lot of three-pointers, but they couldn't produce them.

"When Nicki [Spencer] went out [with four fouls], all the girls stepped in and and helped out," said South Carroll coach Al Skierski. "Especially Amber and Melissa.

"Those girls have the experience," he said, "and it was great to have two of our big three contributing a lot. I think the bottom line was our hustle and the 12-0 run. Once we got ahead, we didn't have to worry about the [Walt Whitman] press at the end, and that took a lot of pressure off our girls."

Gettemy attributed the second-half spurt to the team's outstanding defensive play in its 3-2 zone.

"We made a lot of steals out of the zone, and it turned things around for us," she said.

For Clutter, who has been improving every game, it was another outstanding late-season shooting show.

"I've been practicing my shooting a lot, and so has the whole team," said Clutter.

Skierski said: "Yes, we need to improve our shooting. We've been winning even though we've been shooting about 30 percent."

Walter Johnson coach Mike O'Brien said that South Carroll hurt his team in transition.

"They sit in that 3-2 zone defense and sent two players long for easy shots after making the steals," said O'Brien. "It's going to be tough for them to beat Whitman. They are a tremendous team that beat us by about 25 twice."

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