North County girls basketball coach Sally Entsminger appeared upbeatafter watching her Knights dispose of host Chesapeake, 40-30, Fridaynight.

Sometimes, looks can be deceiving.

"They're playing like a team that wants the season to be over with," said Entsminger, after watching her Knights survive yet another lackluster effort. "You can motivate them to a certain level, but they have to have a certain level of motivation within themselves to be successful.

"There's nothing you can do as a coach, short of putting electrodes in their shorts and zapping them. I can't play for them."

North County (16-6 overall, 11-3 4A League) came out sluggish in the first quarter and stayed that way throughout the contest. The Knights took advantage of a 3-for-15 shooting performance by the Cougars to build a 14-7 lead after one period, but reached an all-time lowin the ensuing period when they hit just one of 14 shots from the floor.

The Knights got their lone second-quarter field goal at the buzzer when Kim Miller fielded a loose ball and passed it to Renita Johnson for an uncontested layup. The Knights led at intermission, 19-15, courtesy of a dismal 3-for-13 performance from the field by the Cougars.

"We were just cold," said Chesapeake coach Ginger Woods, whose Cougars made 10 of 22 free throws. "We played a good game, and ifour shots would have fallen like North County's, we could have won the game."

Chesapeake (8-11) cut the lead to three in the opening minutes of the third quarter following a short jumper from Mattie Cymek. North County answered with a pair of buckets from Johnson and another from Miller to push the lead back to nine.

The Cougars immediately clawed their way back into contention with a quick pair of baskets from Amy Ordakowski and one from Deanna Castle. Ordakowski finished the game with nine points while Cymek led the Cougars with 11. Kelly Nash and Castle each contributed four points for Chesapeake.

North County's scoring wasn't distributed quite as evenly. Johnson and Miller led the Knights with 24 and 13 points, respectively, while Tonya Kolodziejski, Lisa Betz and Joy Farmer chipped in one point each.

"When they play together they can play with any team around and they proved that against Old Mill," Entsminger said. "After beating Old Mill (Feb. 1, 62-57) who I think is the cream of the crop, I thought they would have gotten some confidence in themselves, but that didn'thappen."

The Knights showed some life in the fourth quarter by hitting four of nine shots from floor.

Why are her Knights playing so lethargically? Entsminger wishes she had an answer.

"If I knew what it was, they wouldn't be doing it," said Entsminger. "Superwoman,I'm not."

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