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North, South meets Monday

January 28, 2001

North, South meets Monday



By DAN SPEARS / Staff Writer


All the fractured metaphors have been used over the years to describe the North-South rivalry in sports: This is what it's all about, I'd rather die than lose to (insert team here), you can throw out the records, et cetera.

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Only when the two boys basketball teams meet tonight on the south side of Hagerstown - you can't throw the records out. And in this case, why would you want to?

The Hubs and Rebels are a combined 22-3 and have begun to pull away from the rest of the Monocacy Valley Athletic League. With No. 6 North (12-1, 9-1) owning a half-game lead in the standings over No. 4 South (10-2, 8-1), the first leg of the city series has a whole new set of bragging rights on the line.

"The North-South game is special anyway," North coach Tim McNamee said. "Then throw the success in, it makes even more special.

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"(But) it's been crazy in the league this year. We know what can happen to us if we don't come to play."

In a league full of upsets this season, both teams have done their best to avoid them. North's loss at Francis Scott Key and South's bitter loss at Brunswick have been the only times either side has really paid attention to the other before tonight.

"We really haven't said much about it; other than, 'What did North do last night?,'" South coach Bob Starkey said. "But no more than any other team. But that's one game you don't have to play up, either."

While the losses in the record book haven't piled up, both teams have been working at less than full strength. North's injuries limited it to just eight players in a win against Walkersville - and the Hubs only finished with five. South, meanwhile, has struggled with bigger issues, including the death of Starkey's wife, Greta, which caused the postponement of the game from Jan. 16 to tonight.

"We'll both be wired sky-high," Starkey said. "The first team to get into that groove will have the advantage. The kids have been so wired in the past. ... They really get emotional for this one."

And that was with just the city rights on the line.

"I know they're all talking, and I don't want to downplay this, but it won't make or break us," McNamee said. "But it is an important game."

"There's no question this is a key game," Starkey said. "And that's what you play for - is games like this. There'll be lots of people yelling, screaming. That's what high school sports is all about."

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