Hereford girls beat Western Tech for Baltimore County title

February 18, 2011|By Jeff Seidel, Special to The Baltimore Sun

Hereford never found much of a rhythm on offense in Friday night's Baltimore County championship game against Western Tech. The Wolverines swarmed, trapped and pressed all over the court, forcing the Bulls into 31 turnovers.

But Hereford kept its poise. Point guard Rebecca Silver helped settle the offense just enough and scored a game-high 15 points, while teammate Julia McLaughlin added 10 points and 11 rebounds as the Bulls outlasted visiting Western Tech, 45-35.

The offensive problems began early, as the Bulls committed 20 turnovers in the first half against the quicker Wolervines. Hereford (20-1) was able to play with more control in the final two quarters, as it moved the ball better and found some good shots.

Hereford coach Ellen Fitzkee liked how her team didn't fold under the pressure, especially in the first half, when they were battling some early title-game nerves.

"It was ugly," Fitzkee said with a smile. "I think Western Tech plays great defense. We did have 31 turnovers, but I think the good thing is they have confidence in each other [on offense]."

Fitzkee had the Bulls make a few changes on offense in the second half. To avoid getting caught in traps in the corners and near the sidelines, Hereford began quickly reversing its passes and going more to the middle.

Those adjustments helped the Bulls get some open shots, draw fouls and cut their turnovers in half.

"We tried to let [the mistakes] go," said Silver. "We had to keep driving to draw fouls. We were a little nervous the whole game."

The confidence on offense proved crucial in the second half. Despite making 20 turnovers in the first half, Hereford managed to hold a 22-21 lead at the break. The Bulls didn't even do any shooting warm-ups for the second half, but they took command in the opening minutes of the third period.

Silver — who finished with four 3-pointers — gave the Bulls a 25-21 lead with a 3-pointer to start the second-half scoring. She added another 3-pointer to finish a 9-0 run Hereford had at the beginning of the third quarter. That gave the Bulls a 31-22 lead with 4:10 left in the period.

"In the second half, we relaxed," said McLaughlin. "We just went for it."

The Bulls got a lot of help off the bench. Ashley Barnett finished with four points, five rebounds and a steal.

Western Tech (19-3) was battling its own offensive problems. The Wolverines went just 1-for-13 from the field in the third quarter. They never drew closer than six points again.

Ebonee Dixon led Western Tech with eight points, but she fouled out early in the fourth quarter, as the Wolverines battled foul problems all night. Coach Nolan Roe's team had five players with at least two fouls at halftime — two of whom had three fouls.

Western Tech missed on a number of good scoring chances throughout the game. The Wolverines couldn't make several shots from inside 10 feet.

In addition, they made only 14 of 29 free throws. Western Tech made only three baskets in the fourth quarter and just one in both the first and third quarters, which allowed Hereford to overcome its own offensive struggles to come away with the county title.

"They were just smarter, " said Roe. "They made good decisions, [their] fundamentals were excellent. They're a very good basketball team."

W- Clopton 6, Dixon 8, Cox 1, Staton 2, Duncan 6, Montgomery 6, Rolle 4. Totals: 11 14-29 35.

H- Barnett 4, Bell 1, Clarke 1, Fili 1, Ale. Gianotti 2, Herbenar 3, McLaughlin 10, Ma. Oosterwijk 6, Mi. Oosterwijk 1, Silver 15. Totals: 12 17-29 45. Half: H, 22-21.

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