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Dogs' trek to Charleston not vacation, but business trip

March 06, 2002|BY BOB PARASILITI

By BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Martinsburg's advantage over Keyser seemed bigger than the Great Outdoors.

Maybe that's why the Bulldogs has so much success playing "catch and release" basketball at the expense of the Golden Tornado - the 'Dogs played catch with rebounds and released guards down floor for layups all night.

The strategy worked way above what should be the legal limit. Still the performance moved Martinsburg past the smaller school of competition and allowed the Bulldogs to cast a line for the big fish in the state after Tuesday's 91-63 victory for the Class AAA Region II championship at Shepherd College.

The victory wasn't a trophy catch, but it did return Martinsburg back to next week's state tournament against Riverside at the Charleston Civic Center.

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"We played hard in spots," Martinsburg coach Dave Rogers said, almost apologetically. "We didn't play with the intensity we had Friday and that bothered me. But the kids listened and everyone did everything together."

The Bulldogs made Keyser look like it was swimming upstream. Martinsburg's quickness allowed a wave of fast break opportunities as the Bulldogs finally pulled away from the dock in the second quarter. Buck Springette scored nine of his 23 points in the second eight minutes to move Martinsburg from a 21-12 lead to a 47-22 halftime advantage.

"Coach said we couldn't come out here looking bad," Springette said. "They have some shooters on that team. This doesn't matter that we won. Charleston does."

You have to excuse Martinsburg (23-4) for not getting overly excited about the region final, a game that is a yearly goal for the Bulldogs. The 'Dogs probably had trouble believing that there wasn't a five-hour bus trip in their future.

"We beat them twice by a total of 104 points," Rogers said. "It's tough to get the kids up to play them again. They read the papers and listen to the radio. They know. The kids kind of turned it on and off as they needed it."

Martinsburg scored the first 11 points of the second quarter to bust the game open. The Bulldogs picked up where they left off in the second half, building to a 74-36 lead that was capped by Brandon Barrett's alley-oop pass to 6-foot-10 Kevin Pittsnogle for a wham-bam slam dunk for the last of his 16 points.

Rogers cleared the bench in the fourth quarter as Keyser whittled 12 points off the deficit to get to the final margin.

Evon Taylor had six of his team-high 20 and Rusty Clay scored seven of his 17 for Keyser in the comeback.

Martinsburg 91 Keyser 63

MARTINSBURG (91)

Largent 12, Barrett 9, Ware 2, Springette 23, Triggs 3, Horst 5, Johnson 17, Pittsnogle 16, Washington 4. Totals 35 13-16 91.

KEYSER (63)

Clay 17, Taylor 20, Newlin 4, Yutey 4, Pritts 8, Melody 6, Nyland 4. Totals 22 12-16 63

Martinsburg 21252717-91

Keyser 12101526-63

Three-point goals-Martinsburg 8 (Springette 3, Johnson 2, Largent, Barrett, Triggs), Keyser 7 (Clay 2, Pritts 2, Melody 2, Taylor).

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