S. Carroll falls just short against Thomas Johnson

Despite a 51-50 defeat, Freeman is optimistic

Girls basketball

High Schools

January 08, 2003|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

As a two-time Carroll County Player of the Year in the mid-1990s, Nicole Freeman became accustomed to winning. Now, as a first-year coach of her alma mater - South Carroll - she would like to give her upstart team a taste of what it's like.

Last night against Thomas Johnson, the host Cavaliers whetted their appetite.

South Carroll took the lead on five occasions in the second half - including on Britt Woodfield's two free throws with 26 seconds left - but in the end couldn't hold on in a 51-50 loss to the Patriots in a Central Maryland Conference basketball game.

Emily Springer, who finished with a game-high 17 points, gave Thomas Johnson the lead for good on a layup with nine seconds left. The Cavaliers had one last chance, but Woodfield's layup after a length-of-the-court drive was too strong at the buzzer.

It was the second straight heartbreaker for the Cavaliers (3-7), who were coming off a one-point overtime defeat to North Carroll.

"We're progressing. We're moving forward," Freeman said. "Last game was close, this game was close. We've got our intensity. We're getting our shots off. Our confidence is rising."

That was apparent throughout the game, especially when Thomas Johnson (5-4) scored seven straight points and threatened to pull away midway through the second quarter. Down 24-18, however, South Carroll rallied back, getting a two three-pointers from guard Keri Lowry, then pulling to within a point on forward Carrie O'Connell's put-back moments before halftime.

O'Connell finished with 13 points, and Lowry scored 12, all on three-pointers.

The Cavaliers opened the second half with five straight points, taking a 31-27 lead, their largest of the game, on two free throws by O'Connell.

The Patriots, who have won four straight, answered back. They tied the score on back-to-back jumpers by Abra Like (11 points), then kept pace throughout the fourth quarter, with Springer scoring seven in a span of four minutes.

It was defense, however, that Springer felt made the biggest difference.

"They were hitting outside shots left and right, so we knew we had to step up our defense on those shots," Springer said.

"By the second half, we knew that [Lowry] was looking to shoot it, so our coach told us to get out on her and make sure she was being covered at all times."

Said Freeman: "Each game we highlight something else. Tonight ... we kept up the intensity and didn't fall down."

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