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Bulldogs dig deep to tip Cougars in OT

March 03, 2001

Bulldogs dig deep to tip Cougars in OT



By CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent


SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Every time the Martinsburg boys basketball team seemed poised to put away arch-rival Jefferson, the Cougars responded ... except once.

Ironically, the only time the Cougars weren't able to forge a rally was when Martinsburg appeared most vulnerable.

Playing without its two leading scorers and rebounders - Buck Springette and Kevin Pittsnogle - the Bulldogs had to rely on Ryan Morris and Tristan Largent to score seven straight points late in the overtime period and dump the pesky Cougars 68-63 in the West Virginia Region I, Section II basketball tournament Friday night.

With Springette and Pittsnogle fouling out within a 19-second span midway through the extra period, and the score tied at 61, Morris sank a layup, and followed it with a pair of free throws for a 65-61 advantage. After a missed shot by the Cougars, Largent coolly drilled a pair of free throws with 27 seconds left to all but ice the win.

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"Did my hair turn gray?" asked Bulldogs coach Dave Rogers rhetorically. "Anytime you lose a 6-11 kid, and your best scorer, you have concerns. I gotta give credit to the reserves. Tristan Largent and Ryan Morris played outstanding games."

In some respects, it was miraculous that Jefferson (12-9) even managed to send the game into overtime. The Bulldogs (17-6, No. 5 Herald-Mail poll) held a 10-point lead with 5:29 left in the fourth quarter, but the Cougars slowly chipped away at the lead, reeling off nine of the next 14 points behind Kevin Jackson and Tony Shanton.

Two free throws apiece from Morris and a Springette pushed the Martinsburg margin to six with 34 seconds left, but Damon McDowell drained a 3, and Jackson stole the inbounds pass for an easy layup, was fouled, and completed the three-point play to tie the game at 58-58.

Meanwhile point guard and floor-leader Devin Hosby was limping noticeably and being spelled frequently after injuring his ankle midway through the second quarter, and the Cougars were lackluster from the charity stripe, hitting just five of 10 in the final eight minutes.

"That's the character we built on this team from day one," said Jefferson coach Scott Douglass. "We don't quit. We play hard. Sometimes we win, and sometimes we lose."

The Cougars also rallied from a nine-point deficit in the third quarter, scoring 11 unanswered points in less than three minutes. But Martinsburg, with Springette and Pittsnogle on the bench with foul trouble, scored the last six points - four by Largent - of the period to take a 43-37 lead into the fourth.

Martinsburg 68, Jefferson 63



MARTINSBURG (68)

Largent 7, Barrett 9, Ware 7, Springette 21, Morris 9, Bullett 2, Pittsnogle 13, Totals 21 22-33 68.

JEFFERSON (63)

Hosby 4, Togans 12, McDowell 19, Shanton 9, Jackson 19, Totals 21 15-25 63.

Martinsburg1810151510-68

Jefferson14815215-63

Three-point goals: Martinsburg 4 (Barrett, Springette 2, Morris). Jefferson (Togans 2, McDowell 3, Jackson).

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