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Girls basketball: Bruton's free throws crucial in victory
Bruton's free throws crucial in victory
By George Watson | Correspondent
YORK — As part of her usual routine, Bruton’s Jen Falin spends an hour or more after basketball practice to work on her free throws. She shot 100 following Monday’s team workout.
That extra practice has paid off in her becoming almost mechanical at the line as she showed by nailing 13 of 15 freebies Tuesday night to lead the Panthers to a 64-51 victory over visiting Prince Edward County in the first round of Group AA Region I playoffs.
In all, the Bay Rivers District Player of the Year scored 28 points while pulling in 11 rebounds and dishing out five assists.
Bruton (20-5) now travels to Fredricksburg Thursday for a 7 p.m. meeting with James Monroe, a 64-53 victor over Lafayette, in the regional semifinals.
Although Bruton was outscored 21-16 in field goals, Falin got plenty of help from her teammates at the charity stripe. As a team, the Panthers were 31 of 44 at the line against the physical Eagles of the Southside District. Letitia Fowler (7-10), Jenny Rolley (3-4) and Sharmaine Baker (3-4) added to the winners’ free throw success.
“No question, our free throws were the difference in the game,” said Bruton Coach Wayne Burnett. “I’ve told the kids in the post season games are won at the free throw line. We’ve been emphasizing free throws all year but we just haven’t been consistent. We only made seven of 19 in our tournament loss to Poquoson.”
The other major factor for the Panthers was their trapping pressure defense which accounted for 29 turnovers by the Eagles.
“That’s my favorite defense, the five trap,” explained sophomore guard Marina Koliopolous, who got her second start of the season in the absence of senior Shariece Samuels. Koliopolous accounted for six of the Panthers’s 19 steals while point guard Jenny Rolley had five.
Koliopolous, who also scored eight points, did not know she was going to start until right before the game.
“I was a little nervous but more excited,” she added.
“Marina really stepped it up,” praised Falin. “We just had to put the fact Shariece was missing out of our minds and we did.”
The Panthers took the lead for good at 5-4 at the 5:30 mark of the first quarter on a free throw by Fowler, who had nine points and eight boards. They pushed the lead to as much as 14 right before the break and settled for a 10-point lead (36-26) at intermission.
Although out-shot 38 percent to 30 percent in the first 16 minutes, the Panthers were 15 of 21 at the line and had forced 16 turnovers.
The lead reached as much as 16 (55-39) early in the fourth quarter and never was less than six in the second half. When the advantage was cut to eight (57-49) with 2:16 left, Falin hit a pair from the line and then fed Baker a nifty pass for a layup to hold off any further Eagle comeback.
Freshman Baker added seven points, four rebounds and two blocks to the Panthers’ success.
BRUTON 64, PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY 51
PRINCE EDWARD (16-5): K.Jennings 4, Woods 2, M.Jennings 3, Childress 3, DeJarnette 8, Adkins 10, Washington 21. Totals 21 8-16 51.
BRUTON (20-5): Falin 28, Legaspi 2, Rolley 7, Fowler 9, Ellis 3, Baker 7, Koliopolous 8. Totals 16 31-44 64.
Prince Edward 16101114 — 51
Bruton 19171414 — 64
3-point goals — Prince Edward 1 (Childress), Bruton 1 (Falin). Total fouls — Prince Edward 25, Bruton 20. Fouled out — Adkins. Technical — Legaspi.
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