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Hubs follow Harris' lead, trip Trojans

December 30, 2002|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

Bernard Harris is North Hagerstown's only returning starter from last season and that means he's counted on for leadership.

He showed it at the outset with a 10-point first quarter and then pumped in two very important 3-pointers at crunch time to lead the Hubs to a 66-56 conquest of Allegany on Saturday in the conclusion of the Hoffman Two-Town Showdown at South Hagerstown High School.

"I had the open shots and they just come natural," Harris said. "Last night (Friday) I missed everything. Some nights you're on, some nights you're off."

The 6-foot-3 junior canned back-to-back 3-pointers to ignite the Hubs (5-1) midway through the fourth quarter after the team had blown a nine-point lead.

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The Hubs had mounted a 45-36 lead with 55 seconds to play in the third quarter before Allegany (4-2) surged back into contention with seven unanswered points including a 3-pointer by Aaron Laffey. Two free throws by Ian Gray knotted the score 45-45 at the outset of the final quarter and Allegany took a 47-45 lead on a goal by Laffey off a Rebel turnover with 7:20 to go.

That set the stage for Harris' key moments, the second with 4:45 to play. Purnell Spruce, who had 14 assists in the contests, and Marshall Branch followed with buckets at the Hubs were back out to a 57-47 lead on the way to victory.

"I'm not thrilled we lost the lead but I am very happy how the kids responded after losing the lead," said North Hagerstown coach Tim McNamee. "I think that is a good sign for our team.

"We were a little sluggish out of the gate tonight," McNamee added. "Harris hit some big shots and he was a go-to guy tonight. He didn't score much in the first game (11 points) so he stepped up for us."

Coming back with two wins in the weekend mixer after losing at Middletown, McNamee ( "We've gotten better with the turnovers") was happy with the turnover reduction, which saw the Hubs guilty of only 12.

An Allegany zone defense forced North Hagerstown's hand at perimiter shooting and the Hubs responded with a 25 of 44 performance (57 percent) which included 21 of 32 on 2-point efforts.

Harris was backed by Branch with 18 points which included a stretch midway through the second quarter and into the third when he hit 6 straight 2-pointers. He also led the Hubs with 7 rebounds.

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