Shore cagers’ late run of 8 unanswered points salvages conference victory

CHESTERTOWN — This is a story of one of those big ones that almost got away.

Washington squandered a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter against conference rival Muhlenberg on Saturday, but salvaged a 46-41 win after rebounding with a run of eight unanswered points over the final minute and a half.

The locals improved to 7-4 on the season and 4-2 in Centennial Conference women’s basketball.

Muhlenberg, playing for the first time in four weeks, was held to its lowest point total of the season.

Washington junior forward Karry Kelliher led all players with 16 points, which included 4-of-4 in free throws.

A pair of Kelliher free throws with 1 minute, 31 seconds remaining restored Washington’s lead for good at 40-39 and sparked the 8-0 game-winning run.

All four of Kelliher’s free throws came in the 8-0 run, which included a Kaitlyn Boggs jumper and two Abby Meredith free throws.

Boggs’ jumper in the paint with 46 seconds remaining, which made it 42-39 and held up as the winning bucket, was facilitated by her rebound at the other end.

The Shore ladies’ 6-foot-2 sophomore center finished with a career- and game-high 13 rebounds, in addition to six points, two blocks, two steals and one assist in 31 minutes while committing only one foul.

Boggs’ layup with 2:10 elapsed broke a 2-2 tie and gave the host team the lead up until less than two minutes remained in the game.

Washington took its largest lead of the afternoon at 29-15 on a Peyton Berger free throw with just under five minutes remaining in the third quarter.

The spread was 10 points, 33-23, heading into the final frame.

The Mules (8-4, 3-4 CC) closed to 38-35 on a Katie McGrath free throw with 2:34 to play.

Following a Washington empty possession, Muhlenberg would take its only lead at the 1:40 mark when McGrath completed a rare four-point play.

Near the sideline, with her back to the Muhlenberg bench, McGrath was fouled as she swished a 3-pointer. Her made free throw put the Mules out in front, 39-38, and punctuated their 16-5 run to open the fourth quarter.

On the ensuing possession, Kelliher made two free throws — after being fouled by McGrath — to restore the Shore ladies’ lead for good, 40-39.

A Boggs jumper, two Meredith free throws and then two more Kelliher free throws in succession extended Washington’s lead to 46-39.

Meredith’s block of McGrath’s attempt from outside the 3-point arc with 13 seconds remaining helped to salt away the victory. Kelliher was fouled while grabbing the defensive rebound and was sent to the stripe shooting two —  and with a chance to seal the win.

Muhlenberg’s Megan Winters made a jumper on the next possession to account for the final scoring.

Ava Connolly scored eight of her 11 points in the Mules’ fourth-quarter run, burying one 3-pointer and making all three free throws after getting fouled while attempting another. She was 5-of-5 in free throws in the final frame.

Rachel Saxton also scored 11 points and McGrath contributed a season high of eight.

Playing for the first time since a 50-49 win at Ursinus, the Mules scored only 23 points in the first 32 minutes and trailed 35-23 with less than eight minutes to play.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Shore ladies travel to Ursinus on Tuesday, Jan. 9 to kick off a four-game road trip against conference rivals. They are not home again until Jan. 23.

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