WILLOW HILL - The Fannett-Metal Tigers didn't play down the sweet feeling of Saturday's 72-59 non-league girls basketball victory over Class AAA James Buchanan.
"I talked to them before the game and said they derserved to be here and win this game just as much as any AAA school, AA school, whoever it is," Fannett-Metal coach Jen Lauthers said.
"You could see they were cocky coming into a little school, a little court - thinking they were going to run all over us," said Tiger guard Megan Dougherty, who led all scorers with 32 points. "We proved them wrong."
F-M (6-2) came out with a purpose, opening up a 9-0 lead less than two minutes into the game that had Rocket coach Rick Cristofano calling for time.
The holdup didn't throw the Tigers off their game though, and they ended the first quarter with a 28-16 advantage.
Dougherty - who had 13 points in the first stanza - then handed off the offensive load to Blaire Lauthers, who quietly scored 9 of her 23 points as part of FM's 13-point second quarter.
Then things got physical.
In the second half the teams combined for 35 free throw attempts, ultimately totaling 71 attempts between them for the night.
"Each team was hacking each other," Dougherty said. "It was bad both ways, so I'm not going to complain. That's just how it is sometimes."
JB (1-8) wasn't done fighting, winning the third quarter 15-13. Despite carrying out a game plan aimed at getting to the charity stripe, the Tigers, including Dougherty (11-19 from the line), found issues nailing their free throws.
The result - a 5-0 Rocket run to close the gap to seven points late in the third.
But that was the closest JB got. Despite poor free-throw shooting, FM's plan still worked to put the Rockets in foul trouble - Cheyenne Carbaugh (15 points), Rochelle Timmons and Jennae Piper (18 points) all eventually fouled out.
"We try to drive a lot to the hole and get fouled," Dougherty said. "We practice a bunch of foul shots in practice, and we like to get them in foul trouble."
Though satisfied with the victory, Dougherty recognized that she and her teammates still have plenty of work ahead of them in practice.
"We had some trouble rebounding tonight," Dougherty said. "We needed to find somebody and box them out - get a hold of the ball whenever we went up for rebounds - and we had trouble doing that."
The Tigers ended on the shortside of the rebounding battle, 50-34, much to the thanks of Carbaugh (13 rebounds).
In addition to leading the Rockets in rebounds, Carbaugh also led with three steals and two of the team's five assists.
Jennae Piper got her shots for JB, too, leading the team with 18 points, including three 3-pointers.
"She wasn't supposed to be allowed to shoot," said Jen Lauthers of shutting Piper down. "But she got hers anyway."
And while it's hard to ask more from the girl who scored 32 points, Lauthers didn't shy from saying Dougherty's total could've been more.
"We were getting on her a little bit about her foul shooting - she would have had more if she'd made her foul shots," Lauthers said. "But we're not going to complain about a 32-point game. She's making much better decisions this year and is just being an overall leader on the floor."
Jeff Kolb can be reached at 262-4819 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
James Buchanan 59
Rochelle Timmons 0 4-4 4, Cheyenne Carbaugh 3 9-11 15, Jenna Carbaugh 4 0-0 8, Jennae Piper 6 3-4 18, Bailey Wagner 0 0-0 0, Jess Moquin 0 2-2 2, Candice Plessinger 0 0-0 0, Kylea Mongold 0 0-0 0, Charity Miller 0 0-0 0, Taylor Gorman 2 0-0 4, Tristen Amsley 1 0-0 2, Taryn Miller 2 2-2 6. Totals 18 16-19 59.
Blaire Lauthers 9 5-8 23, Megan Dougherty 11 11-19 32, Amanda Laye 0 4-10 4, McKenna Bair 0 6-11 6, Melissa Zeger 2 1-2 5, Jodi Adams 0 2-2 2, Jess Becker 0 0-0 0, Alexis Mackey 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 29-52 72.
James Buchanan 16 11 15 17 - 59
Fannett-Metal 28 13 13 18 - 72
3-point shots - JB 3 (Piper 3). Shooting - JB 18-66 (27%); FM 22-66 (33%). Rebounds - JB 50 (C.Carbaugh 13); FM 34 (Lauthers 9). Assists - JB 5 (C.Carbaugh 2); FM 12 (Dougherty 5). Steals - JB 9 (C.Carbaugh 3); FM 18 (Dougherty 6). Turnovers - JB 24, FM 16. Blocked shots - JB 2 (Piper, Gorman); FM 3. Fouled out - C.Carbaugh, Timmons, Piper.
Next game: FM: Thursday, at Forbes Road, 7:30 JB: Tuesday, home vs. Waynesboro, 7:30.