N. Carroll deals Liberty first defeat in county

Panthers go inside, reap reward with 55-48 win

Boys basketball

January 22, 2003|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

North Carroll made a change in strategy for its second meeting with Liberty, something that brought the Panthers boys a much different result.

Instead of relying heavily upon outside shots again, North Carroll repeatedly took the ball to the basket against the taller Lions. Danny Kahline scored 14 points while Steve Sheppard added 12 as part of a balanced attack last night that helped the Panthers hand visiting Liberty its first Carroll County loss, 55-48.

Liberty (5-8 overall, 4-1 in county, 4-5 in Central Maryland Conference) routed North Carroll in a December meeting, but the Panthers decided to shake up things for this game. North Carroll (6-7, 4-2, 3-5) began driving almost immediately, setting the tone by making its first three baskets on layups.

"They've got a few big kids," said North Carroll guard Shawn McDonald. "But we were trying to pound it down low a little bit. We can do it, but we just don't do it a lot."

North Carroll runs an up-tempo version of the Princeton offense, making numerous back-door cuts and getting many layup chances. In fact, the Panthers' biggest problem was the number of layups they missed, especially early in the game.

The change in strategy worked for the Panthers as 13 of their 18 baskets were layups. McDonald and Kahline helped North Carroll hold off a Liberty fourth-quarter rally as the Panthers hung on for the win - using offensive patience and making some key layups after spreading out the Lions' defense.

"We wanted to bring it right to them," Kahline said. "I think it did surprise them a lot. I like doing that."

The Panthers nearly broke open the game in the first quarter. They jumped out to an 11-0 lead while Liberty missed its first 14 shots from the field. But Liberty guard Nick DeSimone got hot in the second quarter, scoring 11 of his team-high 14 points as the Lions briefly took the lead.

North Carroll came back for a 23-22 lead at halftime, but Liberty went ahead again in the third quarter before the Panthers took command. A Sheppard three-pointer gave North Carroll the lead for good while Justin Petrecca (six points, 10 rebounds) sparked the rest of an 8-0 run that gave the Panthers a 33-26 lead with 1:03 left in the third period.

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