Damascus swarms over N. Carroll, 52-44

Hornets force 27 turnovers, hold Easter to 5 points in 2nd half to advance to final

Girls 3A regional semis

High Schools

March 02, 2000|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

If North Carroll were to advance to the Class 3A West regional final, Damascus coach Steve Pisarski figured the No. 9 Panthers had to rely on senior guard Heather Easter.

Easter scored a game-high 17 points, but five came in the second half, and the Hornets turned up the defensive pressure to edge visiting North Carroll, 52-44, last night.

"I thought it was a pretty even game, but the difference was that we shut down No. 12, Easter," said Pisarski, whose team improved to 20-3. "She scored a couple of twos, but she didn't score the three-pointers she was making earlier."

Panthers coach Sarah Palmer said she was not surprised by the defensive focus Damascus applied to Easter, who scored both of her threes in the first half.

"We knew they were going to come out and guard her," Palmer said. "We took plenty of good shots, wide-open shots, but they didn't go through. It just wasn't meant to be today."

Senior forward Candice Jeffrey, who contributed nine points, nine rebounds and two blocks, credited the Hornets with forcing North Carroll (19-5) into 27 turnovers.

"They were like their name, hornets," she said. "They were swarming."

The Panthers began the contest as they did against Richard Montgomery on Monday night, shooting 7-for-13 in the first quarter. But unlike the Rockets, Damascus matched North Carroll, shooting the same percentage and taking a 17-16 lead into the second quarter.

The Panthers started the next period with an 11-2 run -- capped by a layup by senior forward Lisa Tunney -- to lead 27-19 with 3: 18 left. But the Hornets answered the run with a 9-0 streak of their own, and a layup by junior forward Becky Wike (13 points and 11 rebounds) gave North Carroll a 29-28 lead at the half.

Damascus began to pull away in the third quarter. Pisarski assigned senior forward Nicole Wilson to mark Easter and told his players to guard against the three-pointer.

The strategy seemed to work as the Panthers missed 11 of 13 shots, and the Hornets regained a 38-35 lead at the end of the quarter.

North Carroll worked tirelessly to tie the score, but Damascus continued to match every Panthers bucket. Trailing 46-44 with less than a minute left, North Carroll committed two turnovers and watched the Hornets drain six straight free throws to clinch the victory.

Despite the disappointment of exiting the playoffs, Wike said the team would bask in a successful season that included grabbing a share of the Central Maryland Conference championship.

"I think we played tough to the end," she said. "I don't think we're disappointed at all."

Damascus was led by senior point guard Adeline Abreu (12 points) and junior forward Asia Haney (11 points).

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