Unsung role players Kristen Kapusta and Kerry Miller rescued Annapolis from a swarming band of upset-minded Broadneck Bruins last night, combining for 15 second-half points to lead the Panthers to a 43-37 victory and move them a step closer to the Anne Arundel County South Division girls title.
Seventh-ranked Annapolis needs a victory at home Tuesday night over South River to clinch the South title and move into the county championship game Feb. 25, most likely against Meade.
Annapolis (16-3, 7-1 in the South) is on the verge of replacing defending Class 4A state champion Arundel as the South Division winner.
The rash of recent upsets that have hit eighth-ranked Arundel over the past five days seemed headed in the direction of Annapolis last night.
Inspired Broadneck (13-7, 5-3) came out in the third quarter and scored five straight points to surge ahead, 23-18, against the cold-shooting Panthers, who went scoreless for the first five minutes of the second half.
When Broadneck's Sarah Brino drove inside for a layup, got fouled and hit the free throw for the 23-18 lead and pumped her fist into the air, it was obvious how much the methodical Bruins wanted the victory against their long-time rivals.
But Kapusta finally answered for Annapolis, hitting back-to-back three-pointers in 34 seconds to push the Panthers ahead, 24-23, with 2: 23 remaining in the third quarter and turning the momentum in favor of the home team.
Usual Annapolis scoring leaders Jackie Edwards and Kammi Cottrell passed the ball out from the post to Kapusta for the crucial three-pointers.
Edwards had an assist on the first Kapusta shot and Cottrell fed the senior guard for the second three-pointer.
"They went inside-out on those two passes to Kapusta, and that was the difference in the game," said Broadneck coach Bruce Springer, who orchestrated a perfect game plan to halt Edwards and Cottrell.
Kapusta, who finished with a team-high 10 points, came back in the fourth quarter with two free throws with 1: 10 left in the game to extend Annapolis' lead to 40-34.
Kapusta had scored just two points in the first half and Miller had not scored at all until she dropped in seven points in the final 1: 43 of the game.
Miller hit a running 10-footer and five of six free throws to account for seven of the last nine Annapolis points.
Broadneck was led by Brino's 17 points, a perfectly executed, deliberate offense and a collapsing defense that restricted Edwards to seven points and Cottrell to six.
Pub Date: 2/15/97