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GIRLS BASKETBALL Fitch grounds Warren Kennedy with a late-game stand



Published: Tue, January 29, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Falcons turned up the pressure with one minute to play and won 36-30.

By JOE SCALZO

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

WARREN -- Austintown Fitch High senior Kim Buhro wasn't worried. Honest.

Buhro had just missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and the visiting Falcons found themselves behind 30-26 with 1 minute, 43 seconds remaining in their game with Warren Kennedy.

And JFK sophomore Renee Black was at the free throw line.

"I've been through some rough moments before," Buhro said. "I had confidence."

Black missed her free throw, the Falcon defense forced four straight turnovers and Fitch out-scored the Eagles 10-0 down the stretch to win 36-30.

"We didn't play a particularly good game," Fitch coach Mary Ann McGahagan said. "But our defense picked it up. It was a great turnaround."

Stuck in the backcourt: The key turnover came when JFK was whistled for a 10-second violation with a minute to go and the Eagles clinging to a one-point lead.

JFK coach Denise Smith had tried to signal for a timeout. She didn't get it in time -- and slapped her clipboard on her leg in frustration.

Cassie Williams then hit a baseline jumper to give Fitch a 31-30 lead, and Buhro followed with a steal and a layup to put the Falcons in control.

"It was a very disappointing loss," Smith said. "We obviously didn't play our best game. We struggled like crazy on offense. I think we shot something like 20 percent."

The Eagles were 9-for-38 (24 percent) and just 9-for-17 at the line. Fitch wasn't much better, going 13-for-36 (36 percent) from the floor and 8-for-16 at the line.

Buhro scored all of Fitch's points in the first quarter as the Falcons took a 7-4 lead. The teams played even in the second period and JFK cut its deficit to 23-22 at the end of three. The Eagles were just 1-for-5 at the line in the final three minutes.

Buhro finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds.

"I knew someone had to step it up," Buhro said. "Normally when someone plays good, it picks up the rest of the team. I'm hoping this win will motivate us for the rest of the season."

Needing a win: Katie McDermott added four points and seven rebounds for Fitch (9-7), which had lost four of six before Monday's game.

Erin Poponak scored nine points to lead JFK (10-5). Krystal Naples added seven points and three steals.

"We're all disappointed, but because we're not in a league, it doesn't really hurt us," Smith said. "We just have to regroup, prepare for the rest of the season and try to finish strong."

scalzo@vindy.com




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