Urbana runs Key off floor in final

10-10 after 1st quarter, Eagles outscored 21-4 in 2nd and lose, 54-34

2A West girls basketball

March 04, 2001|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

One by one Francis Scott Key coach Alice Rau pulled out her four senior starters, all of whom had played a least three years on varsity, so that they could garner some final applause in their final game - a 54-34 defeat in the Class 2A West regional girls basketball championship game at Urbana.

First, it was leading rebounder Ashley Norris exiting with just under two minutes to play. Seconds later, it was point guard Meredith Carter.

Norris jumped off the bench and threw her arms around Carter's neck, giving her a tearful hug. Four-year starter Adria Stonesifer followed and also got a hug from Norris.

Finally, with 55 seconds left, leading scorer Samantha Stambaugh made her final exit.

"I'm glad we made it this far, it's the farthest I've ever been. But I'm sad it's over," Stambaugh said. "I've been playing with Ashley forever - since kindergarten - and now we'll probably go our separate ways and not see each other."

Urbana (18-7) pressed the first three quarters and created 15 Francis Scott Key turnovers in the first half - nine in the fateful second period when the Hawks outscored the Eagles 21-4 to lead 31-14 at the half.

"We played well in the first quarter, and then I don't know what happened," Stambaugh said. "We needed to slow it down and pass, but we rushed our shots. They played good defense. They made their free throws and we didn't."

Urbana made seven of its first 10 shots that period while Key shot 2-for-6. The Eagles (17-9) rarely made an offensive rebound all night.

"Our problem all season was lack of quickness, and that hurt us on the offensive boards today," Rau said. "We didn't rotate the ball well, but forced it inside. Urbana collapsed inside, and our outside players were not in position to get the ball back so we ended up turning it over or taking bad shots. We didn't shoot well in either half."

Key had a golden chance in the third period to get back into the game. The Eagles' press helped Urbana miss its first 10 shots the first five minutes of that period. But the Eagles shot 2-for-11 during that time and squandered the opportunity.

They pulled within 31-21, but Urbana went on an 11-0 run to finish off the Eagles.

Urbana's only senior, center Pam Kenney, repeatedly received bounce passes on the low post for easy baskets. She scored 20 points and had 11 rebounds.

Norris led the Eagles with 12 points and nine rebounds.

"We were dragging today," Stambaugh said. "A lot of us didn't get enough sleep because they went to the boys game [at Fort Hill] last night."

Said Urbana coach Betsy Reinert: "Francis Scott Key did a good job of battling and not giving up, but we worked hard, played together and had superior speed on our side. And our defensive pressure was incredible."

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