By Rob Potter
LIVINGSTON MANOR March 5, 2004 A scoring surge in the fourth quarter of Wednesday nights quarterfinal game helped the Livingston Manor Lady Wildcats advance in the Section IX Class D girls basketball tournament.
After trailing the visiting Eldred Lady Yellowjackets virtually the entire game, third-seeded Manor (12-7) took the lead early in the fourth quarter. The Lady Wildcats proceeded to outscore sixth-seeded Eldred (9-10) 20 to 8 in that final period to record a 57-46 victory.
Manor will meet the second-seeded Family School Lady Falcons in a Class D semifinal game at 5:30 p.m. tonight at Sullivan County Community College in Loch Sheldrake.
Leading the Manor offense was sophomore guard Heather Sherwood, who scored 20 of her game-high 28 points in the second half. Sherwood scored on a layup at the 7:13 mark of the fourth quarter to give the Lady Wildcats a 41-38 lead. Following a Lady Yellowjackets hoop, Sherwood hit a jump shot to again put her team up by three points.
With 5:32 remaining, Sherwood connected on a three-point shot from the top of the key to boost the Manor lead to 10 points at 50-40.
Shes only a sophomore and she is just learning the game of basketball, Manor Coach Kevin Clifford said. Shes a good player and is discovering what she can do.
Although Manor led by as many as 12 in that final stanza, Eldred made a late comeback attempt.
With 3:39 remaining, Eldred guard Lauren Timan converted one of two free throws to make it a 52-41 game. About one minute later, Timan scored an easy basket after a Manor turnover to cut the Lady Wildcats lead to nine, 52-43.
Forty seconds later, Timan converted another foul shot and teammate Jenny Haas scored a basket in the lane with 1:29 left to cut Manors lead to just six points, 52-46.
But in the final minute, Lady Wildcat guard Ashley Mann made three of four foul shots and forward Charlene Vail swished a pair of free throws to seal the Manor victory.
As a team, the Lady Wildcats made 12-of-24 free throws. The Lady Yellowjackets went 14-of-27 at the foul line.
We played excellent in the first half, it was the way we wanted to play all four quarters, Eldred Coach Frank Kean said. But in the second half it seemed like there was a lid on our basket. In the first half we were shooting well, but our shooting percentage in the second half must have been down around 18 percent.
In addition to shooting woes, Eldred also had foul trouble in the second half. Senior starters Jenna Fredericks, Haas and Timan each picked up her fourth foul in the third period. All three of them fouled out in the final minute of the game when the Lady Yellowjackets were committing fouls in an effort to preserve time on the clock and regain possession of the basketball.
Kean said he was not making any excuses, but noted that it was a key turning point to have those three in foul trouble.
The veteran coach added that his teams chances for victory were hampered more by the Lady Wildcats performance.
Give credit to number 14 [Sherwood] and the entire Manor team, Kean said. They played a great game.
In addition to Sherwood, forward Charlene Vail also reached double figures for Manor. Vail finished the evening with 10 points. Senior forward Mary Mills added seven points for the Lady Wildcats.
For Eldred, Timan recorded a team-high 25 points and junior center Jessica Cherry netted 10.
Clifford noted that being down in the first half served as a wake-up call for his team. He said that getting over some early-game jitters and making an improved defensive effort in the third and fourth quarters were key factors in the win.
In the first half we had some holes in our press, he said. But in the second half we closed those gaps and mixed things up defensively.
The game marked the final scholastic hoops contest for five Eldred seniors Fredericks, Haas, Jenn Leibmann, Timan and Roberta Wolff.