Middletown escapes as F.S. Key fails to convert

Two missed free throws at : 00 cost Eagles, 51-50

Girls basketball

February 12, 2000|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Francis Scott Key girls basketball coach Alice Smith predicted the outcome of the Eagles' rematch with Middletown, but in her vision, her team won.

Last night, though, junior power forward Sam Stambaugh missed two free throws with no time left, and the visiting Knights of Washington County escaped Union Bridge with a 51-50 victory.

During practice Wednesday and Thursday, Smith ordered her team to imagine a 51-50 deficit with each player at the line to shoot two free throws.

On both days, Stambaugh nailed her free throws, Smith said.

"She won [Thursday], and she won on Wednesday," Smith said with a smile. "It was kind of neat to see it come down like that."

Middletown improved to 16-3 and tightened its grip on first place in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League with a 13-2 mark. The Eagles suffered their second loss in a row and dropped to 11-4 in the league and 12-7 overall.

Trailing by as many as 11 points in the second half, Middletown rallied to take a 49-47 lead when sophomore center Danielle Costello converted a three-point play with 1: 19 left in the game.

Eagles junior forward Ashley Norris was hacked as she canned a jumper with 28.8 seconds left. Although she missed the free throw, she grabbed the offensive board and was fouled again.

After Norris drained one of two free throws, senior forward Dorian Whims sank a jumper on the left wing to give the Knights a 51-50 lead with 14 seconds left.

On the ensuing possession, Stambaugh rebounded an errant shot, was fouled, and was awarded two free throws with : 00 on the clock.

Middletown coach Kara Nelson called a timeout to talk to her team and to rattle Stambaugh.

"Some of the girls were upset, and I told them, `Look, we're going into overtime because she'll miss one and make one,' " Nelson later said. "I tried to get them to regain their composure."

But Stambaugh rimmed both free-throw attempts to end a frustrating evening.

"I wasn't nervous," said Stambaugh, who had six points and six rebounds. "I knew that I had nothing to be ashamed of. Sometimes it just doesn't happen."

Norris, who finished with team highs in points (15) and rebounds (11), refused to place any blame on her teammate.

"If she didn't get that rebound, we wouldn't have even gotten a shot at those free throws," Norris said. "We'll meet [Middletown] again in the regionals. This will make us work that much harder."

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