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Burghers win two despite opponents' late surges

WARRENSBURG - Scrappy defense can overcome far taller opponents - a fact fans of the Warrensburg High School varsity girls basketball team witnessed this week.

The Burghers used their defensive pressure Jan. 9 to defeat the North Warren 36 to 26, then accomplish an encore 37-31 win Monday against Salem.

"We are on kind of a roll here, and I hope it can carry over to four strong quarters against upcoming teams," Burgher Coach Scott Smith said.

Guards Jen Durkin, Carol White and Teagan Rafferty lead the defensive charge for the Burghers, with in-your-face coverage of opponents and quick ball handling on offense.

The Burgers held Salem to one point in the first quarter - the generals offense only crossed midcourt once in the first four minutes of play - then nearly kept even at 7-to-8 in the second. In the third, the Burghers beefed up their margin in the third quarter with a 13 points to Salem's 2.

But the fourth quarter's tilt, 20 to 10 favoring Salem, indicates a present weakness with the Burghers, Smith said.

"We have to learn how to close out games," Smith said. "We have to maintain defensive intensity for the entire 32 minutes."

Offensively, the team often missed opportunities and launched careless passes and suffered turnovers needlessly, indicating the Burghers need more practice to hit their stride, Smith said.

Both North Warren and Salem deserve credit for their resurgence in the final few minutes, he said.

"They hung in there and fought hard," he said.

But Warrensburg's defense prevailed, improving their season win-loss record to 4-7.

"Out team held in there and protected their lead." he said after the Salem game. "They played very well at times."

Mercedes Maltbie scored 12 points, followed by 11 by Jen Durkin, 7 by Carol White and 5 by Teagan Rafferty. Kate May chipped in 2. Leading Salem's effort were Heidi Connors with 8 points and Shalyn Scribner with 7.

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