Westminster overturns South Carroll, 59-35

Owls' half-court defense forces 30 Cavs turnovers

Girls basketball

High Schools

December 19, 2003|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Westminster coach Kevin Lawrence said he wants his team's half-court defense to be its calling card this season. The Owls certainly left that message with South Carroll last night.

South Carroll experienced all kinds of problems against an aggressive Westminster defense that forced 20 first-half turnovers and helped the Owls to a 27-point halftime lead. No. 11 Westminster never let the visiting Cavaliers get started on offense and cruised to a 59-35 win.

The Owls made every possession an adventure for South Carroll. Westminster forced 11 turnovers in the first quarter, several of which led to points, helping the Owls to a 17-2 lead after one period.

Westminster (5-0 overall , 4-0 Carroll County League) kept going in the second quarter, stretching its lead to 40-13 at halftime. The Owls used Brittany Baer and Jamie Matthews to keep constant pressure on the ball, and their teammates repeatedly cut off passing lanes.

South Carroll rarely found an open shot, continually fired up air balls, and made only four of 24 shots from the field in the first half. The Cavaliers finished with 30 turnovers and never found any rhythm on offense.

Emily Bollinger led the Owls with 14 points and eight rebounds despite sitting out the final 1 1/2 quarters. Lawrence pulled the forward with four minutes left in the third quarter after the senior came close to getting a double double in the first half.

The Cavaliers had no answer for the inside play of Bollinger and center Jen Walkling (eight points, six rebounds). The duo ruled the lane at both ends.

"We're really trying to focus this year on getting intense defense in the passing lanes," Bollinger said. "[Hopefully] our defense is going to trigger some things on offense that are going to be good."

Westminster also showed South Carroll (1-4, 0-2) its full-court press at times, but Lawrence didn't use it much since the Owls jumped out to a 10-0 first-quarter lead and were never pressured.

Lawrence said he's hopeful the offense will come along as the season progresses. Westminster finished with 29 turnovers, but several of them came when Lawrence emptied the bench in the final quarter.

South Carroll's offense didn't awaken until the fourth quarter, when the Cavaliers scored 17 points. Melissa Axtell and Talia Caviness both had a team-high nine points for South Carroll.

"They really go after the ball," South Carroll coach Nicole Freeman said. "They're quick ... and they're very aggressive on defense."

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