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    After Slow Start, Lincoln
    Rolls past Liberty, 68-18

    With its biggest game of the year just four days away, the Lincoln girls basketball team travelled to Liberty Monday night in what was supposed to be a tune-up before hosting Class AA No. 1 Tucker County Friday night.

    Just by looking at the scoreboard, one would think that everything went according to plan. The Cougars (8-0) trounced the Mountaineers (0-7) 68-18, and could have made the score much worse if they hadn't come out flat at the start of the game.

    However, by the tone of Lincoln coach Jeff Osbourn's voice, one could tell that this was not the performance that he expected out of his team.

    "We missed a lot of easy shots tonight. I'm sure that the girls were looking ahead to Friday night, and that was the reason that we came out flat in the first quarter.

    "I was hoping to have had some closer games this year, but this is the way that it has been all season. I wish we could have played some better teams, just to see where we stand, but I am sure we will know where we stand after we play Tucker. I think that they are the best team in the state, and I hope that we can just stay with them."

    Lincoln started off slowly in the first quarter, taking a 4-2 lead after three minutes. After a time-out, the Cougars finally caught fire, and went on a 12-4 run to close out the quarter ahead 16-6.

    Lincoln upped its lead to a comfortable 18 points midway through the second quarter, thanks to the help of some great defense and the Cougars patented running game. With each Lincoln basket, the Mountaineers became more and more frustrated. The more frustrated they got, the slower they got back on defense and the easier the Lincoln baskets came.

    The lead increased to 21 at the half, 35-14, but fans knew that it was just a matter of time before the Cougars exploded.

    Lincoln stuffed any thoughts that Liberty had of making the game close by running out to a 15-0 run to start the third quarter. Teresa Medina canned six of her 11 points in the run that allowed Osbourn to empty his bench for the remainder of the game.

    Up 50-17 after three quarters, the Cougar reserves entered the game determined not to let the starters outshine them. Even with five new players in the game for Lincoln, the outcome was the same. Steals, fast-break points, and stellar board play paced the way for Lincoln to outscore the Mountaineers 18-1 in the final period which finally ended with the Cougars winning by 50.

    "This is no fun," commented Osbourn. "I've been where he's (Liberty coach Gary Courtney) at, and it is really hard. We need to be put in some close games to see how we will react."

    Tabitha Hutson and Stacey Lambert led the Cougars with 12 points apiece while Kellie Nichols paced the Mountaineers with 7.

    Lincoln (68)

    A.Luchuck 3 0-0 7, McDonnell 0 0-0 0; Medina 5 0-0 11; C.Luchuck 3 2-2 8; Mills 0 0-0 0; Morris 1 1-2 5; J.Lambert 0 2-2 2; Barron 0 0-0 0; Hutson 6 0-0 12; S.Lambert 6 0-2 12; Cochran 2 2-2 6; Wentz 1 3-5 5; Pierce 0 0-0 0; McCray 0 0-0 0; Totals 25 9-15 68.

    Liberty (18)

    Nichols 2 3-4 7; Bee 1 0-0 2; Will 0 0-0 0; Southern 0 0-0 0; Robinson 1 0-0 2; Fisher 0 2-4 2; Bland 0 0-0 0; Kopp 2 0-0 5; Goff 0 0-0 0; Allen 0 0-0 0; Totals 6 5-8 18.





    3-Point Goals:

    A. Luchuck, Medina, Morris, Kopp.

    Updated January 8, 1997
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    Crusaders Crush DCHS; Gilmer Rolls

    PARKERSBURG CATHOLIC 83, Doddridge County 51: Class A No. 1 Parkersburg Catholic opened up a 23-8 lead in the first quarter and never looked back as the Crusaders dominated visiting Doddridge County 83-51 last night in girls prep basketball action.

    The hosts led 48-16 at intermission and 70-36 after three periods of play.

    Parkersburg Catholic (7-2) placed four players in double-figures as Sarah Burkett and Tara Jackson each tallied a game-high 16 points. Elizabeth Tokodi and Tiffany Laugh chipped in 15 and 14, respectively.

    Kristi Evans led the Class A No. 8 Bulldogs (5-4) with 15 points while Tabby Hayes scored 12 on four 3-pointers.

    Doddridge County will be in action again on Wednesday as it travels to St. Marys. The Crusaders will host Ravenswood on Wednesday.

    Doddridge County (51)

    Evans 5 4-8 15; Ash 3 1-2 9; Kelley 1 0-0 2; Rollins 2 2-3 6; Hayes 4 0-0 12; Powell 2 0-0 5; Trent 1 0-1 2; Totals 18 7-14 51.

    Parkersburg Catholic (83)

    Burkett 8 0-0 16; Tokodi 5 5-6 15; Laugh 6 1-1 14; Thomas 2 0-0 5; Jackson 5 1-2 16; Evans 2 2-3 6; Wolfe 1 0-0 2; Wilt 4 1-1 9; Totals 33 10-13 83.



    Parkersburg Catholic


    3-Point Goals:

    Evans, Ash 2, Hayes 4, Powell, Laugh, Thomas, Jackson 5.

    GILMER COUNTY 54, Richwood 20:

    Class AA No. 10 Gilmer County outscored homestanding Richwood in every quarter as the Titans rolled to a 54-20 victory last night in a girls high school basketball contest.

    GC outscored Richwood 15-0 in the first quarter and held a 32-4 lead at halftime as the Titans cruised to the 34-point victory.

    Kelly Osbourn led Gilmer, 4-1, with 15 points while Lewesla McClain tossed in 11. Jennifer Chambers and Carrie Cottrell added eight and seven markers, respectively, to balance out the Titans' scoring.

    Richwood, 1-6, was led by Shelly Bailes' six points.

    Gilmer will be in action again today as it travels to Roane County while Richwood travels to Nicholas County on Friday.

    Gilmer County (54)

    Dunning 0 2-4 2; McClain 5 1-2 11; Chambers 4 0-0 8; Smith 1 0-3 2; T.Skinner 1 1-2 3; A.Skinner 1 0-0 2; Cottrell 2 3-5 7; Osbourn 7 1-4 15; Freshhour 2 0-2 4; Totals 23 8-22 54.

    Richwood (20)

    Bailes 3 0-0 6; York 2 0-0 4; Beaver 2 0-0 6; Amick 1 1-2 3; Boyles 0 1-2 1; Totals 8 2-4 20.





    3-Point Goals:

    Beaver 2.

    Updated January 8, 1997
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    Finally! _
    Cougars Break
    Into Girls Poll

    Excuse Lincoln girls basketball coach Jeff Osbourn if he's not too excited about his team finally being ranked in the West Virginia Coaches Association's Class AA poll _ he believes it's long overdue.

    "It doesn't mean a whole lot to me because all they do is call around and ask different coaches who they think should be in the polls," said Osbourn after his team dismantled Liberty 68-18 Monday night. "I'm pleased for the girls. I think we should be in the Top 10. We've beaten some teams pretty good and worked extremely hard."

    Lincoln seniors Chrissy Luchuck and Stacey Lambert said the team was thrilled to hear the news from their coach after Monday's game.

    "It feels great," said Luchuck, the team's cat-quick point guard who serves as a sparkplug for the Cougars' up-tempo attack. "We worked really hard over the summer to get where we're at right now. That's what you work for, to win, go to the state tournament and win it all down there."

    Lambert said the ranking had extra meaning since the Cougars have been out of the polls the past two seasons.

    "It's great because the last time was when Chrissy and I were freshmen and we didn't play much," said Lambert. "It means a lot now that we are more a part of the team."

    While the Cougars were relishing Monday's victory and their state ranking, they were already adjusting their focus to this Friday's showdown with Class AA No. 1 Tucker County.

    "We'll see where we stand on Friday," said Osbourn. "That should be a good evaluation for us."

    "It's going to be a game," said Luchuck. "We have to keep our momentum up and keep our confidence up."

    "We have to be able to break the press," said Lambert. "When we played them last year that was our biggest problem. But, we're a really fast team this year so I think that will help us handle the press this year."

    Updated January 8, 1997
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    Hutson Earns
    Athlete Of Week Award

    When freshmen are fortunate enough to play varsity sports, they often play minor roles until they learn the system.

    But that hasn't been the case for Lincoln's freshman point guard Tabitha Hutson.

    Hutson handled her first week of high school play with extreme poise for an underclassman as she scored eight points, grabbed 11 rebounds, dished out seven assists and had two steals in the Cougars' first game of the year, a 68-39 win over Harrison County rival South Harrison.

    Then she responded with a 27-point effort in a 70-49 win over Grafton in which she filled the void left when one of the team's top scorers was out with an illness.

    For her performance, Hutson has been named the One Valley Bank/Exponent-Telegram Athlete of the Week for the period of Dec. 9-14, 1996. She and other athletes of the week will be honored at the One Valley Bank Athlete of the Year Banquet which will be held at the end of the school year.

    Lincoln coach Jeff Osbourn said Hutson's success can be attributed to hard work.

    "She's worked very hard and deserves any honor she gets," said Osbourn. "She's played very well for us and has given us a boost with her performance."

    Athletes of the week for Dec. 16-21 and Dec. 23-Jan. 4 will be announced on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

    Other girls basketball players nominated for Dec. 9-14 are:

    _ Notre Dame's Toni Kay Oliverio scored 12 points in the Irish's 48-44 loss to Clay-Battelle and 25 points in the 47-30 win over South Harrison.

    _ Chrissy Luchuck of Lincoln scored 23 and 15 points in the Cougars two wins.

    _ Robert C. Byrd's Leah Yertzell scored 17 and 13 points as the Eagles went 1-1.

    _ South Harrison' Amber Morrison led the Hawks with 14 and 12 points, respectively, in their losses to Lincoln and Notre Dame.

    _ Clarice Dent had 14 points and nine points during the Irish's 1-1 week.

    _ Julie Bee of Liberty scored 11 in the Mountaineers' 71-33 loss to Philip Barbour.

    _ Beth Guzzi of Bridgeport averaged 11 points a game in the Indians' 53-52 loss to Preston and a 52-44 win against North Marion.

    _ Teresa Medina averaged 10.5 points in the Cougars' two wins.

    _ SH's Melissa Dawson scored 10 and nine points in two losses.

    _ Jackie Codling averaged 8.5 points during the Indians' 1-1 week.

    _ Peggy Scott had 17 in BHS's win over Preston.

    Updated January 8, 1997
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    Updated January 8, 1997
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    Oliverio's Return Boosts
    Notre Dame by St. Marys

    Notre Dame came into this season with high hopes _ the key was to avoid the injuries that derailed their campaign a year ago.

    However, when Toni Kay Oliverio went down in the fifth game of the season, flashbacks of the past couple years came to mind.

    But, that was put to rest Saturday. In her first game back, Oliverio erased any doubts of her health as she poured in a game-high 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds in a 48-35 victory over St. Marys Saturday afternoon at the Notre Dame gymnasium.

    The 5-7 senior displayed good quickness going to the hoop and looked to have recovered from the sprained knee she suffered against Doddridge County.

    "This was Toni Kay's first game back," commented Notre Dame coach Steve Gibson. "We had to rest her a couple times because she didn't get to practice over Christmas break and she was a little winded, but I think as she gets her wind back she'll be all right."

    The Irish jumped out to a 22-6 lead midway through the second quarter and held St. Marys scoreless for the first 5:31 of the second canto. But soon, NDHS turned cold and the Devils heated up. St. Mary's went on an 8-0 run to end the first half and trailed just 22-14 at the break.

    With the momentum going the Devils' way, the Irish quickly extinguished the visitors' flicker of hope as they used a 6-0 run at the end of the third period to gain control.

    Up 11 points at the start of the fourth stanza, the Irish put the game out of reach as Oliverio scored eight points and Clarice Dent grabbed four of her game-high 10 rebounds.

    "Basically I told them at the half to come out and play with the same intensity they did at the beginning of the game," related Gibson. "All during Christmas break, I've been preaching about their intensity and playing to their top performance which they haven't been doing this far. I think we have a lot better team than we've been showing everybody."

    He added, "Today in the first quarter and most of the second they played with that intensity. When they play like they're capable of, I don't think we can be stopped. Lately we haven't been gelling as a unit and teams are beating us and making things close. But today was the best game we've played all season and we can build on that."

    Notre Dame returns to action Tuesday at home against Calhoun County.

    St. Marys (35)

    Noland 5 4-5 14; Bonner 1 0-0 2; Lamp 1 3-6 5; Perkins 1 2-4 4; Locke 4 0-1 8; Anderson 1 0-0 2; Totals 13 9-16 35.

    Notre Dame (48)

    Vozniak 3 0-0 6; Dent 2 2-4 6; Oliverio 6 9-9 22; Freeman 1 0-2 2; Martino 4 0-0 8; Ferro 2 0-0 4; Totals 18 11-15 48.

    St. Marys


    Notre Dame


    3-point goals:


    Updated January 7, 1997
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    Surging Cougars Prepare For
    Major Test _ No. 1 Tucker Co.

    SHINNSTON _ With his team cruising along at 7-0, Lincoln girls basketball coach Jeff Osbourn is enjoying the season. But, he also knows there are plenty of obstacles in his team's path, none greater than this Friday's showdown with Class AA defending state champion Tucker County.

    "They have the best team in the state, regardless of class," said Osbourn. "They've lost one game in two years, the title game two years ago. And their jayvees haven't lost since 1992. They have a great program."

    But, the Cougars are well on their way to building one of their own. And Friday's contest in Shinnston will be a good measuring stick for Osbourn's squad.

    "We want to get some idea where we stand," stated Osbourn, whose team has been winning by an average of 26.3 points per game. "They are a dominating team. I think Parkersburg Catholic played them the closest, and it was like 84-64. They beat Martinsburg by like 40.

    "This game will give us a chance to evaluate ourselves against the best. We're looking forward to it."

    Osbourn said LHS must be able to break the Mountain Lions' press and handle their inside game.

    "When we played them last year we had all kinds of trouble trying to break their press. And rebounding will be a problem because they are so much bigger. They have a couple of six-footers that are good players."

    The Cougars, who play at Liberty Monday, will bring a talented team into the contest led by seniors Chrissy Luchuck and Stacey Lambert. Luchuck is a talented guard while Lambert is a solid small forward.

    While those two have been providing points and leadership, the Cougars' attack has been solidified by the play of two freshmen _ Tabitha Hutson and Teresa Medina.

    Hutson is a great ball-handler that can also score while Medina has been on fire from the field, making 15 of her last 20 shots.

    Jessica Barron and Jody Lambert, both sophomores, have provided good play in the paint while Osbourn says he has several other players that can contribute.

    Osbourn said the game will be a valuable learning experience for his young squad.

    "The girls know about Tucker and it will be a learning experience," said Osbourn. "We're going to try some different things and see how we handle them and how they handle them.

    "If we're fortunate to get to the state tournament, we'd probably have to face them in the first round so we want to see what we can learn (during the two regular season games). If we end up playing them three times, the time I would like to beat them would be in the state tournament."

    But, the veteran mentor knows that his team will face more than just this one obstacle the second half of the season.

    "We've got a difficult stretch coming up," related Osbourn. "We've got to play Bridgeport on the road, Philip Barbour on the road, Preston ... we've got some tough games.

    "But, the girls have great attitudes and they have confidence. It's a good group."

    So good, that Osbourn has no doubts he made the right decision when he took over the girls program last year after spending his career coaching boys.

    "These girls are close knit," commented Osbourn. "Most of them have played together since the fifth grade. We just don't have problems.

    "We go to church together, we visited a nursing home before Christmas, we go bowling. It's just a nice bunch of girls. We're having a great time."

    And, thus far, a great season.

    Updated January 7, 1997
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