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Blazers lose but give Hubs lesson

January 10, 2003|by BILL STERNER / Staff Correspondent

CLEAR SPRING - Clear Spring's Ashley Keeney pulled up and deftly hit a rainbow 10-footer at the buzzer, signaling for the party to begin.

The shot allowed the faithful few in the stands to stand and cheer wildly while the rest of the Blazers raced across the floor to give Keeney hugs and smiles of congratulations.

Sure, the fiinal score was North Hagerstown 56, Clear Spring 27, but it was still time to feel good.

"Hey, we celebrate each and every baby step, and believe me, we are getting better," Clear Spring coach Jeff Hall said. "We will never quit and the time is coming when this attitude will pay off."

It's worth every second of celebration just because Clear Spring continues to play with exuberance despite a winless streak that spans 1 1/2 seasons. Its a testament to the spirit and determination the Blazers and Hall.

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They needed it because Clear Spring (0-10) only dressed seven players on Thursday.

"I never fault the effort," Hall said. "We are a small team and to survive, we better be able to shoot quick and lights out. That North can be a tough team, and tonight, they really didn't give us many chances after missed shots."

North Hagerstown (2-8) used some strong defensive effort early to limit the Blazers to a handful of second opportunities. North shook off a slow offensive start to hit its stride in the third quarter, scoring 25 points behind Chrissy Ennis, Chelsea Clark and Sierra Routzahn.

Ennis led with a game-high 11 points while Clark and Routzahn had 10 each.

Both teams were slowed by turnovers, but North took advantage of the miscues to score 16 of those 25 points via breakaway layups.

"Too many turnovers." Hall said. "We have to take better care of the basketball."

North coach Helen Mency quickly pointed out that the Hubs are still searching for the die-hard ingredient Clear Spring thrives on.

"When you come to play Clear Spring, they consistently scrap and fight to the end." Mency said. "As a coach, you admire that trait in a team. They have their identity.

"We are so inconsistent. Some nights, we don't show up. I want our kids to see what Clear Spring has and play that way - hard and intense regardless of the odds."

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