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Eagles' speed leaves Berkeley a little off-center

February 25, 1999|By BOB PARASILITI

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - The Hedgesville basketball team figured out the best way to take Keith Davis out of a game.

Never let him in it in the first place.

The Eagles used an all-out press to eliminate Berkeley Springs' center as the center of attention while setting the tone with an early spurt Wednesday in an 81-69 victory, putting the finishing touches on Hedgesville's Senior Day.

With the victory, Hedgesville sealed a first-round bye in the upcoming Class AAA Region II, Section 2 playoffs.

The idea was simple. It's easier to play defense against Davis when you need to wave at him to get his attention.

"We have a hard time matching up with Davis," Hedgesville coach Kelly Church said. "In a halfcourt set, it's tough for us to keep Davis down. But in fullcourt, he has to do a lot more things and isn't as effective. It's easier to defend him from 80 feet than it is from four."

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Hedgesville (17-4), which had lost three of its last four games, made sure the ball never got past halfcourt early by using its trapping press and forcing turnovers. The Eagles used a 20-5 run in the first five minutes of the second quarter to turn a 12-7 lead into an overwhelming 32-12 advantage.

"We're not used to that kind of quickness," Berkeley Springs coach Mick Pentoney said. "It takes time for us to get used to that kind of speed. Once we did, we played them pretty even."

By then, it was too late. Davis, who was averaging 18 points and 15 rebounds per game, scored only two baskets in the first half and four in the game, but hit 8 of 16 foul shots when the ball got to him to finishe with 16.

After the big second-quarter burst, the Eagles led by at least double figures the rest of the game. Hedgesville not only did it by keeping Davis out of the picture; the Eagles also had a field day picking up steals and fast-break buckets.

"Kenny (Roberts), Derek (Brown) and Shane (Moats) are three athletic kids who, when they get down and play defense, make us a very good team," Church said.

Berkeley Springs (17-4) made noise to get back in the game, mostly behind the 3-point shooting of Matt Omps, but could never get within contention. Omps and Brad Close joined Davis with 16 points each.

Hedgesville's seniors went out strong, led by Brady Catlett with 19 while Roberts had 15 and Brown finished with 13.

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