Unbeaten Glenelg came into Mount Hebron's gymnasium last night having won its last eight games by an average of 28 points.
But when Vikings sophomore Tiffaney Randle made a three-point basket with 50 seconds to play, Glenelg's nine-point fourth-quarter advantage had been cut to one.
Enter Glenelg senior Lauren Martin, the county's top play-making guard.
Martin dribbled outside the three-point circle then drove toward the basket. Mount Hebron blocked her path, but Martin found a wide-open Jennifer Kurdziel on the left baseline. Kurdziel hit the seven-foot shot with 29 seconds left, and the sixth-ranked Gladiators held on for a 49-44 victory.
"That's her shot," said Martin, who finished with three three-point baskets and a game-high 19 points. "I have total confidence in her and she nailed it."
Kurdziel, who has the lowest scoring average of Glenelg's starters, made the same baseline shot from the right side with 1: 03 remaining to give the Gladiators a 45-41 margin. Again, Martin drove the lane and found Kurdziel unguarded.
"Lauren did an excellent job getting me the ball," said Kurdziel. "She didn't try to be a hero. She did what she needed to do to win. That's why she's a great player."
Kurdziel plays with a lot of intensity and is known primarily for her defense and rebounding. But she is not afraid to shoot when the opportunity is there.
"I'm usually playing in the shadow of Lauren and Kris [Brust], but when they leave me wide open I'm going to do my part. That's my favorite shot, and I'm just glad they went in."
Glenelg (18-0 overall, 14-0 county) took advantage of poor Mount Hebron shooting (2-for-13) in the first quarter for a 13-5 lead. The Gladiators led by 10 at halftime and by seven after three quarters.
Martin's three-point basket gave Glenelg a 40-31 lead with 5: 47 remaining.
But the Gladiators, who were held to a season-low 49 points in an eight-point win over Mount Hebron earlier this season, scored only a free throw in the next four minutes. Mia Molfino (15 points) and Randle (nine points) brought the Vikings (14-4, 10-4) back.
Randle's basket cut Glenelg's lead to 40-35, then, after a Glenelg free throw, Molfino made two free throws.
A basket by Glenelg's Heather Young was taken away by an offensive charge call, then Randle hit a bank shot to make it 41-39 with just under two minutes left.
Martin scored with 1: 47 left for a four-point lead, but Molfino made two more free throws to make it 43-41 with 1: 27 remaining.
After Kurdziel's basket made it 47-44, Mount Hebron's Lauren Kickham (nine points) missed a three-pointer. Martin was fouled, and with 3.6 seconds left made both ends of a one-and-one.
"We needed that," said Glenelg coach Ciaran Lesikar of the close game. "We need to learn in pressure situations to make the right decisions."
Pub Date: 2/10/99