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No. 13 N. Carroll expects to exceed expectations F.S. Key faces top seed Milford in regionals


One Carroll County girls team expected to be playing this late in the season, while the other is taking a "there's no tomorrow" approach as North Carroll and Francis Scott Key prepare for regional semifinals tonight.

The second-seeded Panthers will play host to sixth-seeded Glenelg in a Class 2A, Region I game, and the Key Eagles will travel to top-seeded Milford Mill in Class 1A, Region II action.

The goal from the start of the season for the No. 13 Panthers (17-5) has been to take it one step farther than last year's trip to the regional finals -- a 57-54 loss at Middletown.

The Panthers know the journey will likely take them through top-seeded Middletown again this season, but coach Greg Knill is confident his squad won't overlook Glenelg (9-12) tonight.

"Our goal is to make it to states and we realize what we have to do is first get through Glenelg," said Knill.

"I think we finished the season strong enough that we can go in confident, but not over-confident."

Glenelg got the opportunity to meet North Carroll after upsetting third-seeded Southern Garrett Tuesday night, 56-49.

It jumped out to a 34-17 halftime lead and held off a second-half rally by Southern Garrett to advance. Senior center Debbie Snyder led the way with 18 points, and senior forward Kerrie Ebbersberger had 14.

"I'll tell you right now we're thrilled to be in this situation," said Glenelg coach Randy Wallenhorst, whose team lost to North Carroll, 44-40, in the second game of the regular season.

"We had a rough season playing in a tough league, but I think that made us stronger. I don't think we saw them [North Carroll] at their best earlier in the season, so it'll be tough."

Knill expects to see Glenelg try to pound it inside to Snyder, Ebbersberger and senior Dana Hoffman, who was the Gladiators' second-leading scorer and rebounder during the regular season despite only scoring two points against Southern Garrett.

"They have an experienced team," he said.

"I expect them to try to establish their inside game with Snyder and Ebbersberger. I'm hoping our senior guards can control the game and give their guards some problems getting it inside."

Senior point guard Ashlee Douglas sets the tone at both ends of the floor for the Panthers, along with senior Francine Hewes and junior Jenny Baker. Inside, North Carroll looks to senior Michele Jeffery, who led the county in scoring at 16.7 points a game to go along with her 10-plus rebounds.

The fifth-seeded Eagles (11-10) will have their hands full with top-seeded and 19th-ranked Milford Mill (17-4) tonight.

The Eagles got contributions from everybody in their 37-34 win against fourth-seeded Poolesville Tuesday and coach Brian Hollingsworth knows he'll need the same kind of effort and then some against powerful Milford Mill.

"Basically, we'll try to do the fundamental things correctly -- passing and boxing out. It's another situation where there's no tomorrow, so win or lose we'll give it our best," Hollingsworth said.

Milford Mill has three players scoring in double figures, led by 5-foot-9 senior forward Yolanda Matthews. She ranks second in the metro area with a 22.0 average, and is averaging 12.3 rebounds a game.

Fellow senior Ebony Richardson, a 6-1 center, is leading the metro area in rebounding at 20.6 a game and also averages 12.5 BTC points. Senior guard Shanelle Driver adds 10.3 points per game.

Hollingsworth said the Eagles will try to mix it up a bit defensively, going with a zone most of the way and trying to put some pressure on the Milford Mill guards to prevent them from getting the ball inside.

The Eagles' senior guard duo of Erin Murphey and Shelley Smith will play a big role at both ends. Senior Tina Smith and sophomore Maureen Ritcey will have to rebound up front and stay out of foul trouble.

Murphey was second in Carroll County in scoring this season with a 16.1 average, and Shelley Smith averaged more than 11.

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