CLARKSBURG -- Tammy Martin's last trip to the Robert C. Byrd gym produced the most upsetting loss in her tenure at Philip Barbour -- a sectional championship game defeat at the hands of RCB last February.
The feisty coach and her returning players were determined it wouldn't happen again, but for more than three periods of play, it looked like it might
Philip Barbour needed a 12-0 run midway through the final period to defeat the Eagles 47-36 Tuesday night.
Clinging to a 33-32 lead, the Philip Barbour bench was slapped with a technical with 5:38 to play. But the Eagles (0-3) were unable to capitalize and take the lead as they missed both free throws.
Nineteen seconds later, forward Gina Ware hit two foul shots to begin the onslaught. Jessica Bolyard netted an inside hoop and hit a free throw to move the lead to six and added another bucket during the stretch which was finally capped off by Amber Kelley's layup and subsequent free throw to make it 45-32 with 3:19 to play.
"The technical foul seemed to wake us up," Martin said. "We became more aggressive after that."
Bolyard, also a forward, was the catalyst to the Philip Barbour attack most of the evening, as she led the team with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Ware netted 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Philip Barbour made up for a poor shooting performance (29 percent) by forcing 23 RCB turnovers and outrebounding the Eagles 52-33.
"I think their inside game was the difference," first-year RCB coach John Rogers said. "We took their guards out of the game, but their big girls made up the difference for them.
"We played them pretty even other than that one run after the technical."
Keisha Bowsman led the Eagles with a game-high 18 points and also pulled down seven rebounds. The sophomore standout was eight of 16 from the field.
Her jumper at the 2:30 mark of the third period tied the game at 29-29. But Amber Kelley's corner jump shot got the lead back for PB heading into the final period.
Megan Graeber's free throw with 5:44 to play narrowed the RCB deficit to one at 33-32, just before the technical and Philip Barbour's decisive run.
"Bolyard gave us a big spark tonight," Martin said. "She seemed to come up with a big play when we needed one. Visiting teams normally don't shoot well here and that was the case with us tonight. But our inside game made up the difference."
Sports writer Greg Talkington can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org