No. 14 N. Carroll pins 61-52 loss on Urbana

Easter's 21 points give Panthers jump in CMC

Girls basketball

January 12, 2000|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

North Carroll coach Sarah Palmer said she never expected her team to have just one loss so late in the season.

For the No. 14 Panthers, however, surprises have become the norm. Last night, they added one more to the mix.

Facing an Urbana team that defeated North Carroll twice last season en route to a trip to the Class 2A state finals, Heather Easter scored a game-high 21 points, as the host Panthers built a 15-point lead and held on for a 61-52 win.

The Panthers, 12-12 a year ago, cleared the first major hurdle in their pursuit of a Central Maryland Conference title, improving to 10-1 overall and 3-0 in the league.

They did it with defense, holding the Hawks (6-5, 2-1) to 25 percent shooting the first half while building an 11-point halftime lead.

They then battered the defending CMC champions on the boards, outrebounding Urbana, 38-24.

"I kept telling them that if they started shooting, we were going to be in a lot of trouble," said Palmer. "If we out-rebounded them, that was going to be the thing that basically kept us in the game."

Said Easter: "We pulled rebound after rebound, and that meant a lot."

Their efforts in other phases of the game were key in helping the Panthers survive an erratic third quarter on offense. Despite committing eight turnovers, many of which translated into baskets at the other end, the hosts never led by fewer than three.

"We slump sometimes in the third quarter," said Easter. "I was just glad to see that we never lost the lead."

Despite shooting only 32 percent from the field, Urbana did the bulk of its damage from beyond the arc, hitting eight of 16 three-pointers, including six by guard Jennie Orelli (18 points).

Leading 48-45 midway through the fourth quarter, however, North Carroll regained command by sinking several key baskets, including three-pointers by Easter and Beth Reeb (10 points) in the final 1: 25.

Becky Wike finished with 14 points for the Panthers.

"We really try to take one game at a time, but this was a nice win for us," said Palmer. "We never really expected to be 10-1."

North Carroll led from the opening minutes.

Trailing 5-4, the Panthers clamped down on defense and scored nine straight points to take a 13-5 lead near the end of the first quarter.

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