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Sports

Wildcats drop ninth straight

| Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2004

LOWER BURRELL - Kittanning basketball coach Doug Flanders is extremely pleased at the way his team remains intense throughout every game.

If only the Wildcats had the shooting touch to match their tenacity.

Kittanning was held to nine points in the first half and went a stretch of 10:19 without a field goal as Burrell remained undefeated in Section 1-AAA with a 56-38 win over the visiting Wildcats.

“We lost that game in the first half,” Flanders said. “We only had nine points at halftime and it's tough to overcome.”

Kittanning trailed 8-7 late in the first quarter as Bryan Pless hit a field goal with 3:31 to play and nailed 1-of-2 from the line two minutes later to erase what was a four-point Burrell lead. Then Brandon Cochran went inside for a layup, two of his team-high 14 points, to ignite a 10-0 run that put the Bucs ahead 18-7 and essentially took the Wildcats out of their game.

“I was happy because we contested everything, they didn't get any open looks and obviously I was real happy about that,” Burrell head coach Ron McNabb said. “These guys are really starting to take pride in their defense and you can see it in practice that they're really stressing it and it pays off.”

Sean Crissman ended the field goal drought and the stretch of 8:19 without a point when he trickled in a shot from deep in the paint with two of his game-high 15 to put Kittanning back on the board, but Burrell still held a 22-9 lead at halftime.

“We work on everything in practice, we come out here and didn't execute and we're not shooting,” Flanders said. “We're not shooting the ball nearly as well as we were at the beginning of the season.”

It wasn't only the problem finding the bottom of the hoop that killed Kittanning. The Wildcats were overmatched inside as Cochran had his way in the paint. Burrell held a 27-21 edge in rebounds and forced Kittanning into three more turnovers than the Bucs, 19-16.

Even when things went well for Kittanning, they would somehow backfire. Kittanning opened the second half with a flourish, but still trailed 28-15 with 5:42 to play in the third quarter. Every time Kittanning would score and go into its full-court press, Burrell would easily break the trap and turn it into a two-point kiss off the glass.

“We got some quick layups off their press, which is what we wanted to do,” McNabb said. “We ended up getting three or four uncontested layups.”

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