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Late surge lifts North Carroll; 9-0 run in final 4 minutes drops Westminster, 49-45


North Carroll, behind for the only time in the game after yielding nine successive points, responded with nine straight points of its own inside the final four minutes and made off with a 49-45 county and Central Maryland Conference victory at Westminster last night.

The Panthers had to dig down and decide what they wanted to do after Kyrica Frisby hit two baskets and a free throw, and added an assist, helping Westminster forge a 40-38 lead with 3: 30 left.

Junior Heather Easter got the tying and go-ahead baskets, one from 15 feet and one from almost behind the basket on the baseline, and Lisa Tunney put back an Easter miss for a 44-40 lead with 1: 35 to go.

For the next minute, North Carroll restricted the Owls to one missed shot (Becky Wike got the clutch rebound) and a turnover. Given two free throws, Danielle Shearer made one and missed the second, but Candice Jeffery was there for the rebound and a basket, extending the margin to 47-40 with 19 seconds left.

It was the start of a tough week for North Carroll (8-4, 3-1 CMC, 2-0 county), which is home against Linganore tonight and at Liberty on Friday. Westminster (5-7, 0-4, 0-1) will play its next four games on the road, beginning Friday at South Carroll.

North Carroll led by as many as eight in the first half by taking advantage of some off-line shooting by the home forces, and the Owls would go on to put up three quarters that mirrored much of their season: two baskets in the first quarter, two baskets in the third quarter, and in between a 23-point bonanza in the second quarter.

JoAnnah Jennings (five) and Angie Baer (four) scored all their points in this stretch, and Kasey Owings added four. At the half, the points had been spread among seven players.

North Carroll shot 50 percent from the field for three quarters and was seemingly in charge entering the final quarter with a 38-31 lead.

For the next four minutes, it was the Panthers who could not locate the basket, missing their first eight shots. Then, just as quickly, the defense tightened, a couple of shots fell, and the pendulum swung their way.

Easter led North Carroll in scoring with 15 points, her second-best effort of the season, followed by Jeffery (12).

"We've moved Heather from inside to a wing, and she has stepped up her game," North Carroll coach Sarah Palmer said. "She is starting to come into her own, and she is not afraid to shoot the ball." She scored 17 at South Carroll last week.

"We've been struggling," Westminster coach Sue Conklin said after watching her team continue its 0-for-January skid with a fourth straight loss. "We're streaky."

Owings led Westminster with nine points and eight rebounds, followed by Frisby (seven points, all in the second half) and Katie Selby (six points, nine rebounds).

Pub Date: 1/20/99

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