With pulled muscles in her right knee and a broken finger on her right hand, North County center Kim Miller didn't look like a poster girl for high school basketball yesterday.
Blue Cross, perhaps, but not basketball.
But that was until she stepped out on the court.
Miller scoreda game-high 24 points and pulled down 19 rebounds, and North County withstood a furious second-half rally from visiting Arundel to prevail, 58-53, in a 4A League Friendship Division game.
Miller ended the first half with 17 points and 12 rebounds -- a full day's work for most.
But the county's leading scorer asked, "Is it halftime already?" as her teammates headed toward the locker room.
Who could blame her for not wanting to take a break, even if her battered body needed one.
"I don't feel anything on the court because my mind's on basketball," said Miller, the county's leading scorer at 18.6 points a game. "I don't feel it until after the games."
North County appeared in control after building a 36-19 halftime lead. But Arundel scored 20 third-quarter points, and eventually whittled the Knights' lead to 55-51 with under three minutes remaining.
"Our defense wasn'tdoing anything and we wouldn't run our offense right," Miller said. "It was like panic ball, and we had no reason to panic."
"We've been doing this all year," said second-year Arundel coach Lee Rogers, whose team tied a school record for victories last Friday with 13 in a 43-41 decision over Glen Burnie. "I'm proud of them. They have nothing to be ashamed off. They worked hard."
North County coach Sally Entsminger was furious afterward at her team's gradual decline, and she put partial blame on last Friday's emotional 62-57 win over Old Mill.
"It's not unusual when you have a big high, and the next gameyou're a little flat," she said. "It's not an excuse, though, and wedon't like it. Friday night was one basketball game. We have the rest of the season to play."
North County (13-3 overall and 7-1 in the division) entertains two-time defending state champion Broadneck Friday afternoon.
The Knights shot 48 percent (16 of 33) and out-rebounded Arundel, 36-12, during the first half to distance themselves from the Wildcats, who had won seven straight games.
Miller contributed seven points to a 9-0 first-quarter run that gave the Knights a 13-3 lead.
Arundel's Alina Smith scored underneath, but Miller split two defenders on the other end and banked in a shot to put North County ahead, 15-5.
Smith sank two free throws to cut into the lead, but then committed her third foul with four seconds left and was removed from the game.
Smith scored six points before fouling out with 18 seconds left. Senior guard Donna Parker led Arundel (13-5, 2-4)with 15 points, and junior guard Mary Pat Fannon added nine.
The Wildcats missed four shots after drawing within four points with 1:30left. Then Miller committed her fifth foul of the game and Arundel'sMichelle Harrison went to the line with eight seconds remaining. Shemissed the front end of a one-and-one and the Knight's Tonya Kolodziejski grabbed the rebound.
North County junior forward Renita Johnson contributed nine points, nine rebounds and three blocks. Kolodziejski and Elise Maccubbin each scored seven points.
Maccubbin twisted her ankle with 5:28 left in the third quarter and had to be carried off the floor. Entsminger was uncertain of the severity of the injury.