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Fort Hill, Kline outlasts North Hagerstown

March 02, 1999|By MIKE SIRBAUGH / Staff Correspondent

The North Hagerstown basketball team saved its best for last.

The Hubs played their best game of the season, but it ended up being their last one, too.

No matter how well North played, Fort Hill was just that much better as Jamie Kline poured in 39 points Monday to lead the Sentinels to a 78-72 victory in a Maryland Class 2A West quarterfinal game.

"It's probably, even in a losing effort, the best ballgame we've played all year," North coach Tim McNamee said. "You have to give Fort Hill credit. They just hit some enormously big shots. And the Kline kid - we just couldn't stop him. He hit some crucial, big shots all game long and then they hit some big foul shots down at the end. I don't think we lost the game, I think Fort Hill beat us."

Fort Hill (17-7) started hitting those shots early and often. The game resembled a mismatch after the opening tip as the Sentinels scored the first 11 points of the game, including seven by Kline.

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North suffered though cold shooting early, especially from leading scorer Tater Russ, forcing McNamee to switch strategies.

Russ became the playmaker, dishing off passes to Kelly McNamee, who scored seven points in a 9-2 rally to bring the Hubs to within 19-13 after the first quarter.

Jamere Burnett warmed up in the second quarter, scoring the Hubs' first nine points of the period to bring the Hubs to within one. Nick Berger hit a pair of free throws to give the Hubs their first lead.

"I thought Jamere Burnett probably played the best ballgame in his career," said McNamee. "He's always played hard but he was able to score tonight, he rebounded and he played tough defense."

Fort Hill broke from a 39-37 halftime lead as Kline got the final say. Kline scored six points to helhelp Fort Hill widen its lead to 54-48 by the end of the third quarter.

"What makes Jamie a good player is, he can shoot from the outside, he can post up, he can handle the basketball and he's quick so he's tough to guard," Fort Hill coach Dave Hobel said.

The Hubs still had a chance in the final minute, but the Sentinels sealed the win by hitting six straight free throws.

Burnett led the Hubs with 23 points while Jason Ott added 16 points with nine rebounds.

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