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WC girls can't stop skid

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By John Overby

Bethlehem
Despite only giving up 34 points for the entire game, the Washington County Commanderettes (1-6, 0-4) were unable to pull out a win last Friday night against the Bethlehem Banshees (2-4, 1-2), losing on a last-second shot, 34-32.

The loss was the team’s sixth in a row.

“When you only give up 34 points, you’re supposed to win,” Head Coach Bernard Smalley said after the game, “but unfortunately, we weren’t able to do that [against Bethlehem].”

The Commanderettes were up by five at the half, but with senior center Jennifer Keene picking up three first-half fouls, she was forced to reside on the bench for most of the third quarter.

And with three minutes to go in the fourth quarter, the Banshees took the lead.

After a frantic back-and-forth contest in the final three minutes, WC found themselves at the free-throw line for a one-and-one opportunity with only 20 seconds left.

But they missed the front end of the opportunity, which allowed Bethlehem to sink a two-pointer for the victory.

For Smalley, the game came down to one thing: WC’s inability to make shots, a problem that he believes has plagued the team all season.

“Scoring the basketball has been our Achilles’ heel this year,” Smalley said. “We get good looks, but we have a hard time putting it in [the basket].”

And when the team does score, according to Smalley, their offensive attack is not balanced enough.

In the Bethlehem game, 26 of WC’s 32 points came from two players: Keene (16) and sophomore Karagan Brizendine (10).

“You’ve gotta have a balanced attack,” Smalley said. “It’s something that we’ve been trying to get better at as the season goes on.”

Nelson Co.

Facing a Nelson County (7-1, 2-0) team that has won the past three district 19 titles, the Washington County Commanderettes were able to keep their deficit respectable for the first half of last Tuesday night’s matchup, going into halftime trailing by 10.

And Head Coach Bernard Smalley believes that the teams should have been tied, with WC missing five layups in the first half.

Despite some optimism for WC, Smalley warned his team in the locker room not to get complacent in the second half, that Nelson was going to look to give them “a little punch in the mouth.”

But the forewarning was ineffective for Smalley’s squad, as they were outscored by the Cardinals 37-7 in the third quarter.

The Commanderettes would go on to lose by a score of 68-33.

Brizendine led the Commanderettes with nine points.

The Commanderettes’ next game will be a rematch against Bethlehem on Jan. 10, a game that will also serve as homecoming for WC.

With 12 days of practice until then (the team will be off until this Friday for the holidays),

Smalley hopes to correct some of the mistakes that the team has been plagued by so far this year.

“We're going to work on a lot of offense,” Smalley said. “To be successful on that end of the floor, we’ve got to push the ball. We’ve been good at causing turnovers, but we’ve got to work on scoring off of those turnovers. This is a good time for a break for us so we can just get back to the basics.”