Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008

Titans pour it on to reach .500 mark

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During the first three and half quarters of Saturday’s game against Martinsburg (WVa.) the Tuscarora High girls basketball did just enough stay close.

During the final two minutes they did more than enough to win.

For the third straight contest the host Titans excelled in the clutch and dispatched with the Bulldogs 55-47.

‘‘The last few minutes against North Carroll, Thomas Johnson and Martinsburg were tremendous,” Tuscarora head coach Brooke Crawford said. ‘‘The girls took care of the ball, rebounded, and made foul shots down the stretch.”

The Titans did everything winning teams do in the closing minutes versus Martinsburg. They converted plays, hit their foul shots and made key defensive stops. After a timeout, Melissa Sweeney converted a perfect pick-and-roll to put Tuscarora up by seven with 54.8 seconds remaining. Stealing the subsequent inbounds, Akilah Hill was fouled and hit both free throws to essentially clinch the win.

The Titans led 14-13 after a quarter. Using a pair of Jessica Humphrey three pointers they increased their lead to 32-24 at the half. Martinsburg fought back closing the gap to 40-38 after three and were within a basket as late as five minutes into the final quarter.

‘‘The girls work hard all of the time, especially in the past five or six games they’ve played hard all four quarters,” Crawford said.

Sweeney led Tuscarora with 18 points, nine steals and five rebounds. Hill, who also had seven assists, and Humphrey both added 13. The Titans augmented a mundane 35.3 field goal percentage by hitting 10-of-11 from the charity stripe.

Martinsburg was the Titans third consecutive win. On Jan. 29 they defeated North Carroll 47-41. Two days later they held off TJ 47-39. At 9-9 overall, they’ve already eclipsed the program’s highest previous win total of five.

‘‘[Our] confidence has really gone up winning three straight games we know we’re just as good as any other team,” co-captain Humphrey said. ‘‘Everyone started stepping up when we needed it and we’re really playing like a team.”

Freshman guard Lynasia Frazier leads Tuscarora in both total points (210, 11.6 per game) and assists (51, 2.8). Humphrey (174), Sweeney (141) and Brittney Bryant (135) all have eclipsed the 100-point barrier. Sweeney is also the Titans’ leading rebounder with 112 boards. She also has 53 steals.

On the season Tuscarora is shooting just over 60 percent from the line but hopes to increase their proficiency to at least 65 percent.

The Titans’ regular season concludes with four tough Monocacy Valley Athletic League Chesapeake Conference contests—Linganore, Westminster, Urbana and TJ. Flush with confidence, the Titans’ plan to expand on the success they’ve found during the program’s best season yet.

‘‘A team can always keep working to improve, but I’m very happy with where we are and where we are going,” Crawford said.