Originally created 01/22/05

Free throws lift visitors over Lions



The heroine of the night shook her head, put her hand to her forehand and exhaled. Cardinal Newman junior guard Colby Kucharski didn't want to talk about her free-throw shooting.

"Oh my gosh," Kucharski said. "It's bad. I'm talking not pretty. Can we not talk about that? I'm lucky to make half of my foul shots. Maybe I make half."

Not on Friday night on the road during a 45-35 win against Augusta Christian.

Kucharski, good for an average of eight points per night, made her first eight free throws of the night in the first half. The rangy guard netted seven of those in the first quarter in scoring nine of her team's 13 points.

"I think I got so lucky and was able to get my confidence going early," Kucharski said. "Being lucky at the line isn't too bad of a feeling."

Kurcharski's 12-for-16 night at the line led the way to her game-best 19 points. Her teammates from Cardinal Newman (13-3, 3-0 Region 3-AAA) followed suit.

The visitors sank 24 of their 29 shots from the foul line.

"To this point maybe we are like 50 percent from the line as a team," Cardinal Newman coach Nikki Miars said.

"We haven't been that good. So 24-for-29 isn't that bad, huh? That's definitely what won this game for us."

The loss spoiled a landmark night for Augusta Christian. Junior guard Jordan Little picked off three passes to push her career total to a school-record 212 steals.

"I would have traded every one of those for a different result tonight," Little said, who also nine points and six assists. "That team was good and they were tall. That was the biggest hurdle tonight. Still, we climbed back into this one and almost found the win."

She was right. Augusta Christian was down by as many as 10 points in the third quarter. Then things got sloppy.

The teams combined to turn the ball over 15 times in the third period.

"I wish we could have played in the first and second quarter the way we did on defense in the second half," Augusta Christian coach Keith Walton said. "Things might have been a bit different. We forced them into a few mistakes in the second half."

Augusta Christian (11-5, 0-2) closed the gap thanks to its defensive pressure. Little sank a 3-pointer to trim the gap to 36-35 with 3:32 to play. But that was it. Augusta Christian couldn't consistently make a shot over the balance of the game.

"We got steals but couldn't get a shot attempt," Walton said. "The only way we could execute our offense was to the benefit of their side of the board tonight."

Little's been brilliant on the defense this year, with a high of 13 steals against Wyman King.

Little also holds school records for assists (11) and 3-pointers (5) in a game.

"I just want to come out and play hard and do my best," Little said. "I've got a great team around me to help me do that."

Junior standout Sara Beth McKinney led the team with her 15 points on 7-for-20 shooting.

Reach Jeff Sentell at (706) 823-3425 or jeff.sentell@augustachronicle.com.

Augusta Christian's Ashley Troxel prepares to take a shot under pressure from Cardinal Newman's Sam August during first half of Friday's game at Augusta Christian.



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