Late free throws lift Westminster

Westminster 58 South Carroll 56

Girls basketball

December 13, 2006|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Special to the Sun

On the surface, Westminster guard Cassie Cooke appeared the picture of confidence. Inside, however, the All-County sophomore would've preferred to be just about anywhere other than on the foul line in the waning seconds of a tie game last night at South Carroll.

Still, Cooke stepped up and made a pair of free throws with 8.4 seconds left to help the defending Carroll County co-champions, who had blown a 13-point second-half lead, stave off the Cavaliers' spirited upset bid in a 58-56 win.

"I told [my teammates] I had never been nervous in a sport before in my life, but my heart was just racing," said Cooke, who scored six of her team-high 13 points over the final 1:41.

Said Owls coach Jerry Georgiana: "We were lucky to get away with a win on this night."

After dominating play in the first half, and building a 33-20 lead early in the third quarter, Westminster (3-0), playing in its second game in as many nights, started succumbing to tired legs and South Carroll's perimeter-oriented offense. Led by All-County guard Kelsey Franklin (game-high 16 points), South Carroll outscored the Owls 21-8, including a 10-2 run to close the quarter that tied the game at 41.

The Cavaliers (0-3) took a 51-48 lead midway through the fourth quarter on consecutive three-pointers by senior Sam Scurci (11 points ) and freshman sister Cyndi Scurci (nine).

Trailing by five with under two minutes to play, however, the Owls began to show their veteran leadership. They used full-court pressure to force turnovers and went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final 1:48, including two from Cooke after driving to the basket on a clear-out. South Carroll still had a chance to win, but Sam Scurci's three-point attempt sailed just long in the waning seconds, and a follow-up under the basket was blocked as time expired.

"These girls always play with heart and always have the ability to get anybody," Cavaliers coach Liz Shannon said. "I hope nobody forgets that, because every game they come ready to play."

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