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North Hagerstown boys slam door on FSK to claim MVAL crown

February 22, 2001

North Hagerstown boys slam door on FSK to claim MVAL crown



By DAN SPEARS / Staff Writer

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer

North coachNorth Hagerstown boys basketball coach Tim McNamee decided to wait until the last minute to tell his team about the possibility of the Monocacy Valley Athletic League title.

continued

Although it felt like it Wednesday night against Francis Scott Key, the Hubs didn't wait nearly as long to take his words to heart.

Locked in a tie game with three minutes left in the first half, No. 2 North found its stride on defense and literally stole its first league title in almost 30 years with a 75-55 thrashing of the Eagles.

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"He didn't say anything until right before we came out," North forward Scott Rice said. "Everybody knew about it, but we hadn't said anything until then."

Seems McNamee chose all his words wisely against the Eagles. Not only did he find the right time for the title talk, but gave a well-placed lecture on defense that turned the game around.

"We were coming at them a little bit out of control and they were going by us," McNamee said. "We wanted to contain them a little better."

Contain wasn't a strong enough word - maybe stifle. Tied at 32-32 after FSK's Kody Jenkins hit a 3, the Hubs cranked up their 1-3-1 trap on the Eagles trio of guards.

North (20-2, 16-2) ended the half on a 10-1 run, then slowly wore the Eagles into submission in the second half. Led by six steals from point guard Mike Rodgers, the Hubs made any FSK trip into the frontcourt an adventure, swiping away anything and everything the Eagles tried to pass through them.

"Coach was getting on us about our defense," Rice said. "That's been our trademark this year. We just turned it up a little and made a few plays."

A few turned into a lot in a hurry. FSK (13-9, 11-7), already limited to just seven shots in the second quarter, only got seven more in the third. The field-goal drought was compounded by 11 turnovers as North led 56-39 after three.

The Hubs slammed the door with a 16-4 run to open the fourth, highlighted by an opposite-hand dunk by Rice.

"We got a little tired for some reason," FSK coach Terry Brant said. "You want to keep the pace, but you never know when there's going to be an emotional letdown."

North had none of those, especially after the final buzzer sounded, giving it a one-game victory over city rival South Hagerstown in the league standings. It is the first conference title of any kind for the Hubs since they won the Tri-State League on their way to a Maryland state title in 1971-72.

"Yeah, that's nice," Rice said. "It's always good to get those at home, and as a team, and to have fun."

Fun was definitely being had. From the garish headbands in the team photo - "We look terrible in those things," McNamee said - to the cutting down of the net, smiles and laughs were as abundant after the game as the steals and easy baskets were during it.

"I told them we were playing for a championship now," McNamee said. "We've knocked on the door so many times and had some good years.

"I'm happy for them. This is something no one can take away from them."

No. 2 North 75, FSK 55



FRANCIS SCOTT KEY (55)

B. McDaniel 6, J. McDaniel 6, Fletcher 8, Schildt 2, Jenkins 19, Bassler 11, Gerald 3. Totals 18-44 15-24 55.

NORTH HAGERSTOWN (75)

Rice 22, Naylor 14, Carey 3, Medley 10, Green 20, Watters 4. Totals 34-79 5-7 75.

FSK2112616-55

N. Hagerstown19231419-75

Three-point goals-FSK 4 (J. McDaniel, Jenkins 2, Gerald), North 2 (Rice, Carey). Fouled Out-Jenkins.

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