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Tigers girls' basketball team falters during Lutheran South tournament

Going into the 2003-2004 season, performance at the free-throw line was a major concern for Paul Harrington, head coach of the Oakville Senior High School girls' basketball team.

But the Tigers (6-4, 1-0 Suburban South) have been respectable at the charity strip this season, as they've nailed 50.8 percent of their free throws this year.

Yet the free-throw bug was rampant over the holidays as they completed just 15 of 49 — 30.6 percent — at the Lutheran High School South Christmas Tournament.

"I had a concern going into the season about our free-throw shooting," Harrington told the Call. "Throughout the tournament, our free-throw shooting went south."

Oakville opened the tournament with a strong 40-28 win over Villa Duchesne as Sarah Bartholic and Lindsay DeGonia scored in double figures for the Tigers.

Bartholic led all scorers with 13 points and six rebounds. The senior guard currently leads the Tigers in scoring and steals with 9.2 points per game and 24 takeaways this season.

DeGonia racked up a season-high 10 points and three assists in the win. The sophomore guard was well above her season average of 3.5 points a game and currently leads the Tigers with 26 assists this season.

"We always expect a lot of good things out of Sarah," Harrington said. "Lindsay gave us some good shooting from the corner and has really taken the lead at the point guard position by playing more consistently."

Yet the Tigers ran into a buzz saw in the second round of the tournament as they suffered a 72-53 drubbing by tourney host Lutheran South. The Tigers were just 9-24 — 37.5 percent — from the free-throw line, yet out rebounded the Lancers 37-28.

"Lutheran South is an excellent ball club and our lack of experience really showed," Harrington said. "I was disappointed that we didn't give them a better ball game."

Oakville's Sherry Zehner leads the Tigers with 11 points and seven rebounds. The sophomore center has been offensively solid throughout the season with 7.5 points per game and 6.6 rebounds a game. The Tigers' head coach spoke highly of Zehner's efforts this season.

"Of all the post players, she has the most varsity experience," Harrington said. "She plays hard offensively and defensively and takes a lot of pride in her rebounding."

The Tigers rounded out the tournament with a 45-37 loss to Francis Howell on Sunday of last week. One of the keys to the game, according to Harrington, was Howell's scrappy play throughout the game.

"They're (Francis Howell) a scrappy team that never quits," Harrington said. "Personally I think that they out hustled us."

The Tigers' woes have continued as they receive some painful news about Zehner after she turned an ankle during a scrimmage last Friday morning. Zehner's high ankle sprain will keep her out for the next several weeks.

"We're pretty concerned about it," Harrington explained. "We're hoping to have her back on the week after next."

Oakville returns to action at 5:30 p.m. Friday when the Tigers travel to Parkway South for a key Suburban South Conference showdown.

"I think that inside, we're probably going to be OK," Harrington said. "They're a very talented ball club with a lot of skill. This is going to be a game where we're going to have to be playing at our fullest potential."

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