At times this season, the inability to score over long stretches has hurt the Century girls basketball team. Last night against Frederick County's Urbana, it was a sizable drought in each half that doomed the host Knights in a 51-43 loss.
The team, in its first varsity season, has shown maturity and clinched a tie for the Carroll County title. But shooting woes continue to be a problem.
"We still have them, and when they come, they can be dangerous," Century coach Joel Beard said.
The Knights (11-7, 7-6 Central Maryland Conference) shot 24 percent from the field over the first three quarters. They hit one field goal in the game's first 6:15, falling behind 9-2, then went without a basket for more than seven minutes in the second half, as Urbana built its lead to 41-26.
"Part of that was them not shooting the ball well, but I also think part of it had to do with the way we were playing defense," Urbana coach Chris Krivos said. "We're going to press you full court and we're going to play half-court, man-to-man defense. We feel like to be successful at the next level, we have to play great man-to-man."
Urbana (16-4, 13-1), a state semifinalist a year ago, clinched a share of the CMC championship with the win. It was the second time this season the Hawks defeated the Knights.
For Beard, however, the outcomes haven't mattered nearly as much as the improvement he's seen from his team. The Knights were blown out by Urbana by 23 earlier this season, making last night's score somewhat easier for Beard to swallow.
"I asked my kids to play hard and give us a chance, and they did," Beard said. "Sometimes you just run into a better team."
That was evident from the outset.
Led by 5-foot-10 forward Jessica Mills, who led all scorers with 17, the bigger Hawks controlled play in the paint, scoring several second-chance baskets and relegating Century's offense to the perimeter.
After a 12-foot jumper by guard Kendal Gysin, the Hawks took a 13-4 lead after the first 7:05. The Knights battled back to pull within a point on Lauren Schwarzman's three-pointer midway through the second quarter.
The Knights, however, never took the lead. Down 26-22 after consecutive baskets by guard Kelly Kasper early in the third quarter, Century misfired on its next 11 shots and Urbana used a 15-2 run to pull away.
Sophomore Katlyn Williard led the Knights with 12 points, and leading scorer Mandy Psenicska finished with six. Kasper, Century's second-leading scorer, fouled out with four points.