Poolesville stifles Glenelg, 39-36 Oakland Mills next

Relentless defense holds Gladiators to 23% shooting

March 05, 1998|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Northern Montgomery County's Poolesville Indians came to Glenelg last night with the reputation of being a defensive powerhouse. Following their 39-36 win in the Class 1A South region semifinals, the host Gladiators will concur.

Normally one of the area's better offensive teams, Glenelg (14-10) was held to 23 percent shooting, including 4-for-27 in the second half, while falling behind by as much as eight points.

The Gladiators' top scorer, Lauren Martin, averaging 22 points a game over her last 11 games, was held to 14 points on two-for-eight shooting and didn't have a field goal over the final 25: 45 -- more than three quarters.

"We didn't have a good shooting day, but a lot of that was because of them," said Glenelg coach Ciaran Lesikar. "They did a great job defensively. It's hard to come back from an eight-point deficit when you can't score."

Poolesville (16-8) advanced to tomorrow's region final against visiting Oakland Mills, a 58-48 winner over Brunswick last night. The Indians, enjoying their best season in school history, have won five straight games, holding opponents to 43 points or less in each of them.

After going 4-17 a year ago, they have used intense half-court defense to change their fortunes. They now have allowed fewer than 40 points 11 times, including under 30 twice.

"We win with defense," said Indians coach Fred Swick. "We don't have a great shooting team. We just really have a real scrappy team."

The Indians blanketed Glenelg's normally deadly inside-outside combination of center Kris Brust and Martin.

"We knew she [Martin] could shoot threes, so we tried to key on that. We also tried to keep the post packed so we wouldn't let Brust get it, either," said Poolesville's Krista Kennedy. "Defense is what we practice, and it's our strength."

In a game in which points didn't come easy for either team, Kennedy's 14, including five in the final 2: 33, were huge.

After Glenelg led by as much as seven early, Poolesville clawed back into the game, taking the lead on Jessica Cates-Bristol's three-pointer that made it 23-21 with 4: 10 left in the third quarter. Leading by a point later in the quarter, the Indians then used a 9-2 run to build their lead to 34-26 with 6: 15 left.

The Gladiators fought back, scoring the next eight points to knot the score at 34. The last 3 minutes, however, belonged to Poolesville, as the Kennedy-led Indians scored five of the final seven points to seal the win.

Pub Date: 3/05/98

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