Hubs' sleight of hand mystifies Cougars

January 30, 1997


Staff Correspondent

Catoctin boys' basketball coach Chris Barnhart must have felt like his Cougars were playing a team full of David Copperfields Thursday night at North Hagerstown. There was no mistaking the fact that the Hubs' hands were definitely quicker than the eye.

North stole the ball from Catoctin 20 times and converted those steals into 20 points in a 73-56 Monocacy Valley Athletic League victory.

"That is definitely the quickest team we'll see all year," Barnhart said. "They're quick on the boards, quick with their passing, quick on defense. It's everywhere. You can't teach that."


As has been the case all season, it was the full-court pressure by North (12-3, 9-2) that gave its opponent fits. Fourteen of the Hubs' steals came in Catoctin's backcourt. The Cougars (6-9, 4-7) committed 27 turnovers in the game.

Despite turning the ball over eight times in the first period, Catoctin led 15-12 with three minutes left. But Cornell Keyes and Travis Stoner each had four points and two assists in an 11-1 run by the Hubs, who closed the first quarter with a 23-16 lead.

The Hubs scored 12 of the next 16 points to grab a 35-20 lead with four minutes remaining in the first half. Richie Pantophlet scored seven points in the streak for North. A long 3-pointer by Corey Wiles highlighted an 8-0 run by the Cougars before Pantophlet broke the drought for North and extended the lead back to nine points at the half.

"We were fortunate to be up nine at the half," North coach Tim McNamee said. "I really didn't think we played well in the first half. We turned the ball over too many times, didn't execute our offense well. We played much better and much harder in the second half."

The Hubs' cushion stayed around 10 points for the first five minutes of the second half. Keyes, who led all scorers with 20 points, put back an offensive rebound to put North ahead 53-40. Keyes hit a baseline jumper on North's next trip and Devin Carey scored off an assist from Stoner to make it 57-40 with 2:30 left in the third.

"Those are Travis' strengths, making the steal and getting the ball inside," McNamee said."When he has the ball and penetrates, you're going to get the ball. And it might be coming hard."

Pantophlet finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Carey added 11 points for the Hubs, who shot 62 percent in the first half. Stoner had 11 assists and seven steals.

"We tried everything to stop them. Different zones - we couldn't stop them," Barnhart said. "When you exhaust all your options and none have worked, what else do you do?"

Wiles led Catoctin with 15 points.

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