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Girls Basketball: Winters Mill holds off Francis Scott Key in ‘impressive’ win without three of its leaders

Winters Mill was without three of its captains Wednesday — Chelsey Acha, Allie Cullison, and Madison Harmening — when the Falcons traveled to Francis Scott Key.

The visitors didn’t let the absence of those crucial players keep them from bringing their best effort against the Eagles, and they utilized girls from the bench in different positions to come away with a 48-38 victory, good for their third Carroll County Athletic League win this winter.

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Junior guard Katelyn Heffner commanded the Falcons on offense with a game-high 14 points. Veronica Paylor scored eight, and Emily Kowalski and Sophia Barnes notched seven points apiece for the Falcons (4-7, 3-2 CCAL). It helped make up for the loss of Acha (injury) and Cullison and Harmening (both illness).

“A lot of people stepped up, a lot of people who aren’t used to playing and starting and all the different positions we can practice but aren’t used to playing," Heffner said. "It was pretty impressive.”

***CORRECTS SPELLING OF RACHEL WRIGHT*** FSK's Rachel Wright collides with Winters Mill's Becca Thompson during the first half of their game in Uniontown Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020.
***CORRECTS SPELLING OF RACHEL WRIGHT*** FSK's Rachel Wright collides with Winters Mill's Becca Thompson during the first half of their game in Uniontown Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (Dylan Slagle/Carroll County TImes)

“It was an overall great team effort,” WM coach Dave Wynne added. “Katelyn was our floor leader tonight and she really got us into our offense settled it, we took care of the ball and didn’t turn it over too many times. Veronica played great, aggressive defense, just a complete effort, a complete team win.”

Heffner said Winters Mill found it spark in its transition, and the Falcons found a way to run with it.

The Eagles picked up an 8-2 lead in the first quarter, but WM sophomore Allison Louque’s basket stopped a 5-0 scoring run for FSK. Heffner hit a 3-pointer with 36 seconds left on the clock to trim the Falcons’ deficit by two, 11-9, to close out the first quarter.

Junior Logan Brengle hit a 3 to give the Falcons a 14-13 lead early in the second quarter, their first of the game. They used a 6-0 run to gain a 20-15 advantage, until a 3 from FSK’s Brooke Boyer brought the Eagles within two with 1:42 remaining.

The Falcons held on to a 24-20 lead at the break.

The Eagles had six different players score points in the third quarter as they tried to catch up with the Falcons. Heffner and Kowalski each sank 3s one after the other that put the Falcons up 34-28 with 2:02 to go, and they remained ahead by five after three quarters.

“Overall, I think we boosted our box-outs with excellent defense and limiting them for the most part to one shot, a minimal number of shots,” Wynne said. “It helped us get out and run a little bit in transition and take care of the ball.”

Heffner sank another 3, but FSK’s Hannah Boyer responded with one of her own to trim the Eagles’ deficit to 41-35. Wynne called a timeout after another 3 from Boyer cut the Falcons’ lead to five, but the Eagles wouldn’t score again.

Boyer and Ally Mathias scored eight points apiece for the Eagles (2-10, 1-4).

FSK coach TJ Develin said he was proud of his players for putting up a fight against the Falcons, despite the shots not falling in their favor.

“Early in the season we didn't always have that consistent fight and we talk all the time about prioritizing our growth more than our win-loss,” Develin said. “I tell them the opposite, we’re 10-2, so they've done an outstanding job as far as growing and keeping the fight.

“It felt like we were shooting the ball, but we just needed that one to go and tonight it just didn't go that way, so that’s life. Sometimes it doesn’t always go the way you want it, but you keep fighting.”

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Winters Mill (48): Veronica Paylor 8, Katelyn Heffner 14, Emily Kowalski 7, Allison Louque 5, Cassidy Knill 3, Sophia Barnes 7, Becca Thompson 1, Riley Morano 3.

Francis Scott Key (38): Ally Mathias 8, Atley Miller 2, Rachel Wright 6, Haley Mursch 5, Hannah Boyer 5, Brooke Boyer 8, Lizzie Bertrand 2.

Halftime: WM, 24-20.

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