O'Connor lifts Centennial over Atholton Sophomore's 4 threes ignite No. 6 Eagles, 36-35

January 27, 1996|By Chuck Acquisto | Chuck Acquisto,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Sixth-ranked Centennial proved the old adage "statistics lie" with a 36-35 victory over No. 20 Atholton yesterday.

Despite scoring four fewer field goals than visiting Atholton (6-6, 1-4), the Eagles (10-3, 4-2) found a hot shooting hand with 5-foot-11 sophomore Kathleen O'Connor.

The Eagles forward tallied four three-point baskets, two to key a 14-5 Centennial run in the fourth quarter, on her way to a team-high 13 points.

"It must have been poor coaching. After all these years you would think I would know what to do [in such a situation]," joked Centennial coach Dave Greenberg, referring to the Eagles' woeful shooting percentage inside the three-point arc (12 percent).

O'Connor, however, knew that Atholton's swarming 2-3 zone defense that collapsed around the Eagles' top scorer Meredith Price (15.8 ppg) would free her up from the outside.

"Coach [Greenberg] is always encouraging me to take that shot and I know I need to hit it to help break down zone defenses," O'Connor said.

Centennial junior guard Mallory Groves' three-point basket gave Centennial the lead for good, 25-24, with 7:14 left in the game. O'Connor's third three of the game came moments later as the Eagles opened a 28-24 edge.

Atholton closed to within 31-29 on a free throw by sophomore Megan Funches, but O'Connor retaliated with another three to put the Eagles up, 34-29, with 1:30.

The Raiders would not go quietly, as Funches rebounded a missed free throw by teammate Aisha Walcott (12 points) and kicked the ball out to Raiders sophomore Caitlin Bair (seven points), who buried a three to narrow the lead to 34-33 with 26 seconds remaining.

Atholton fouled Price (10 points), who had missed her only two free throws of the game, with 14 seconds left.

"I usually like going to the line, but I was nervous and had to keep telling myself that I just had to relax," said Price, who calmly sank both free throws.

"This was an important win for us because we got a lot of recognition early with our ranking, but we're not there yet," said Greenberg, whose Eagles had lost two consecutive league games heading into last night.

Atholton, on the other hand, has not recovered from the Blizzard of '96 as the Raiders have yet to win in the new year.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.