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Manchester Valley girls basketball keeps its ‘composure’ in another close victory over Liberty

Liberty’s last loss came at the hands of Manchester Valley on Jan. 14 and the Lions won six straight games from that point. However, the Mavericks were determined to maintain their winning potential in the regular season series against a difficult Lions team.

The county foes matched up once again and the Mavericks pulled out a 47-44 win Monday, but it didn’t come easily.

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The Mavs had to find a way to share the basketball and avoid utilizing one or two common shooters against the Lions. Senior guard Amelia Saunders led the way with 20 points and added seven rebounds, four steals, and two assists.

Sophomore guard Tessa Boswell notched nine points, eight rebounds, two steals and an assist in the Mavericks’ third straight victory.

“I think everybody knew that they had to keep their composure in this gym because we knew it was going to be a hard game going in,” Boswell said. “I think knowing that we had to work together and knowing our goals helped us get the win.”

Carroll County has three teams in action Wednesday, Feb. 12, and two of them are hosting regional tournaments. Semifinal rounds start at 5:30 p.m., and the winner face each other to follow.

The Lions used an 8-0 scoring run to pick up a 7-4 lead over the Mavericks in the first quarter and led 15-8 at the buzzer. Lions sophomore Jess Littlejohn scored eight points in the frame, including two 3-pointers.

The Mavericks (11-8, 7-5 in the Carroll County Athletic League) outscored the Lions 11-2 through the first two minutes, 30 seconds of the second quarter to take a 19-17 lead. A steal-turned-layup from Liberty senior Jordan Nastos tied the teams 19-19 and she used a fast break layup to tie the score 24-24 at the half.

Liberty's Jessica Littlejohn grabs a ball while covered by Manchester Valley's Josey Shaffer during the second half of the Mavericks' 47-44 win over the Lions in Eldersburg Monday, Feb. 10, 2020.
Liberty's Jessica Littlejohn grabs a ball while covered by Manchester Valley's Josey Shaffer during the second half of the Mavericks' 47-44 win over the Lions in Eldersburg Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. (Dylan Slagle/Carroll County TImes)

The teams traded shots in the third quarter until a layup from Resau sparked a 7-0 scoring run for the Mavericks. Saunders notched a steal and hit a 3 to give the Mavs a 38-35 lead, but the Lions closed out the quarter with five straight points to carry another tie into the final frame.

Saunders fed the ball to teammate Josey Shaffer who tossed it in for a two-point lead, but Lions sophomore Val Thompson responded with a layup of her own. The Lions got the ball back with 2.9 seconds remaining, but Nastos’ pass was intercepted by Saunders to close out the game.

Liberty senior Rachel Thiem, who recently became the fifth girls basketball player in school history to reach 1,000 career points, was held to just six Monday.

“We knew what we had to do against her and we knew that she was capable of scoring a lot of points a game,” Saunders said. “I think when we stopped her it just gave us more of energy.”

Manchester Valley freshman Casey Meredith drives up the court while covered by Liberty's Jordan Nastos during the second half of the Mavericks' 47-44 win over the Lions in Eldersburg Monday, Feb. 10, 2020.
Manchester Valley freshman Casey Meredith drives up the court while covered by Liberty's Jordan Nastos during the second half of the Mavericks' 47-44 win over the Lions in Eldersburg Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. (Dylan Slagle/Carroll County TImes)

Nastos scored a team-high 16 points and added five rebounds, six assists and three steals. Thompson notched six rebounds for the Lions (12-6, 8-3), who fell out of a tie for first place with Westminster (8-2) in the county standings.

“We didn’t allow their guards to penetrate the way they do against other teams and by doing that, Tessa had a really good play where she stepped then stepped back to intercept passes,” Mavericks coach Heather DeWees said. “We literally watch film and read how they distribute the ball, looking at little nuances and being lucky that [Amelia and Tessa] have played against Liberty for a couple years.

“They know the players a little bit, they know their tendencies.”

Manchester Valley (47): Josey Shaffer 4, Tessa Boswell 9, Sydney Resau 6, Carmaya Bowman 6, Amelia Saunders 20, Grace Warner 2.

Liberty (44): Rachel Thiem 6, Jordan Nastos 16, Alex Bull 2, Kassie O’Hern 2, Emeline Haroldsen 2, Jess Littlejohn 12, Val Thompson 4.

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Halftime: Tied, 24-24.

JV result: Liberty, 43-38 OT (L-Jenna Liska 23 points).

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