Liberty beats N. Carroll, improves to 4-0 in league

Lions' defense collapses on Shirey in 4th quarter

Girls basketball

High School

January 25, 2002|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Liberty's tighter inside defense down the stretch last night helped keep the host North Carroll girls basketball team on the outside looking in in the Central Maryland Conference.

After consistently getting burned in the paint by North Carroll over the first three quarters, the Lions' defense effectively collapsed on center Shanna Shirey during the fourth, holding the Panthers scoreless for 6:20 and rallying from a four-point deficit to post a 52-49 win.

It was the 21st straight Central Maryland Conference loss for North Carroll (5-10 overall, 0-7 CMC), while improving Liberty (7-6, 3-4) to 4-0 in county play.

"Coming into this game, we talked about rotating and playing help defense," said Liberty assistant Steve Dickinson, filling in for head coach Mike Boehme, who suffered a death in the family. "We didn't do a good job in the first half, but in the fourth quarter we really sagged, and everybody helped each other."

"I think they started to realize that we were looking in to Shanna, and they started playing defense that way," North Carroll guard Katy Winemiller said. "We really didn't react as well as we should have. We kept on trying to feed it in there and got turnovers."

Even a career-high 21 points from Winemiller, however, couldn't help the Panthers break their conference slide.

Led by the trio of Holly Steinacker (16 points, eight rebounds), Kelly Fiorani (11 points, eight rebounds) and Becky Trumbo (six points, seven assists), Liberty rallied from a 46-42 deficit early in the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run over the next five minutes to take a 50-46 lead.

Though North Carroll -- which had 14 second-half turnovers -- got to within 1 on Winemiller's three-pointer with 1:25 left, the Lions then extended their lead to 52-49 on a 10-footer by Jenny Geilfuss with 20 seconds left, then forced the Panthers into a turnover on an inbounds play with seven seconds left to seal the win.

For North Carroll, there was a glimmer of hope in the loss.

"We're getting there," North Carroll coach Bernie Koontz said. "We've been getting to about the six-minute mark or the three-minute mark in the fourth quarter and then things falling apart. That didn't happen this evening. We were there until the last seconds of the game.

"That's one of the top teams in the county right now, and we just showed that were `that' far away."

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