The North Carroll girls basketball team improved to 3-0 with a convincing 55-31 win over county-rival Francis Scott Key last night in Hampstead.
Senior forward Michele Jeffery poured in 16 points to lead a balanced attack for the Panthers.
The Panthers' overall defense played a key role as it continually frustrated the visiting Eagles (0-3).
"I was a little concerned going in Girls basketball
and playing a county team after not playing since last Tuesday," North Carroll coach Greg Knill said.
"We missed some shots early, but came back with a pretty solid effort from everybody. We handled a pretty good ballclub tonight."
Knill's major concerns defensively was shutting down Key senior guard Erin Murphey, who finished second in the county last year in scoring.
The Panthers held Murphey to four points through three quarters before she broke through for six in the fourth to finish with 10.
"One of our goals was to see if we could shut down a player of that caliber. It's something that will help us later in the season," Knill said.
Both teams got off to a slow start with North Carroll junior Jenny Baker scoring the first bucket with three minutes gone by in the first quarter.
The Eagles stayed close, trailing 10-6 after one. North Carroll extended the lead to 21-10 at the half and broke it open with a 16-point third quarter to take a 37-19 lead.
After two quick Key baskets cut the Panthers' lead to 21-14 a minute into the second half, the Panthers got those four points right back with Jeffery taking feeds inside from senior point guard Ashlee Douglas -- who finished the night with 11 assists.
The Panthers ended the quarter on a 10-2 run to put the game out of reach.
Poor shooting and costly turnovers continued to plague the struggling Eagles.
"It's just a matter of us playing all four quarters," said Key coach Brian Hollingsworth.
"It seems to take us three quarters to get our game under wraps. We just need a win to get some confidence."
Senior guard Shelley Smith led the way for the Eagles with 13 points. Eight players scored for the Jeffery-led Panthers.