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Third time a charm

February 18, 1999

Third time a charm

Martinsburg finally gets by Hedgesville

Martinsburg vs. HedgesvilleBy BOB PARASILITI / Staff Writer

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer




HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - As usual, a Martinsburg-Hedgesville game was for territorial rights.

The age-old battle between the two rivals within 10 miles apart was round three for Berkeley County bragging rights. It was between two teams rated in the top 10 in the area and in West Virginia.

But when it was all said and done Wednesday, the difference in the game was that the Bulldogs guarded the Wright Place better than the Eagles used Catlett Country for a 63-51 victory before a soldout crowd.

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Martinsburg's Michael Wright controlled the inside by powering to 18 points and setting the tone for a physical game while Hedgesville's Bomb Squad had trouble finding the mark from 3-point range. The Eagles (15-4) hit only six 3s, two by long-range specialist Brady Catlett, while suffering their third straight loss.

"We wanted to get the ball inside and then see what happens," Martinsburg coach Vic Holmes said. "We wanted to get the ball to Wright. He is the center of our offense and then we got good games shooting from (Kellon) Ambrose, Shannon (Layton) and (Jeff) Blair."

But it started out as an inside job for No. 9 Martinsburg, ranked No. 10 in West Virginia. The Bulldogs (13-5) got the opening tip and started in on Hedgesville's man -to-man defense, looking for Wright as he banged for position.

Seven of Martinsburg's first nine points came off Wright's post play, setting the tone for the rest of the game.

"Everyday, I practice it with two of the other guys," Wright said. "I was just trying to get some space to work. They started to foul me because they know I struggle at the foul line."

Wright was charged with the early duty of defending Catlett, who lives off the 3-point shot. Catlett scored eight of his 21 points in the first quarter and then suffered an icy touch the rest of the night.

"We didn't shoot extremely well from the 3-point line tonight," Hedgesville coach Kelly Church said. "We got beat by a team that was better than us tonight. They outshot us and outrebounded us ... the only thing we did was get more turnovers. And they set the tone with the first basket with Michael scoring off an offensive rebound."

Wright's play opened up the outside shot for Ambrose, who scored 20 points to give the Bulldogs a more diverse game as they built a 31-22 halftime lead.

Hedgesville fought back in the second half behind guards Kenny Roberts and Shane Moats. The pair scored 14 of the Eagles' 18 points in the third quarter as the Eagles pulled within 45-40 after three quarters.

Roberts made a 3-pointer to move Hedgesville within 45-43 to start the fourth quarter, but Ambrose sandwiched two jumpers around a 3-pointer by Blair to start a 18-8 run to close the game.

Moats and Roberts finished with 14 points each as only four Eagles scored.

The win was Martinsburg's first in three tries this season. In the first two losses, the Eagles shot better which limited Martinsburg's inside strength.

But this game set the stage for a possible final meeting in the upcoming sectional tournament.

"This was a big win, but we want the one in March," Wright said.

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