Eagles pass test from Applemen

January 13, 2003|by BILL STERNER / Staff Correspondent

HEDGESVILLE, W. Va. - What was billed to be the first serious test at home for the Hedgesville boys basketball team turned into nothing more than a pop quiz.

Give the Eagles an 'A.'

And an 'A+' on defense.

Hedgesville (6-1) turned a first-half 22-0 run into a rout as the Eagles outdistanced Musselman 71-50 Friday night.

The Eagle's Trey Hockman did most of the damage early on, making a 3-pointer and a pair of 5-foot jumpers in the lane. Hockman's outburst started the run that left Musselman (3-4) behind 33-8 with about four minutes left in the first half.

But as potent as the Hedgesville offense looked at times, it was, in fact, the Eagles' stifling defense that created the opportunities at both ends of the floor.


Time and again, the quickness of the Eagles' guards shut off the Applemen's passing lanes and resulted in a frustrating series of turnovers and empty trips.

Playing defense, Hedgesville coach Kelly Church will tell you, is the cornerstone of the Eagles' program.

"Defense is never a variable for our team," Church said. "There will be nights where you won't shoot well and nights where your passes are not on. But our players will always execute on defense."

And how.

Hedgesville attacked the Applemen early, forcing mid-court turnovers that led to easy points. Eight times Musselman guards lost the handle, resulting in 12 Hedgesville points, nearly half the Eagles' output in the first quarter. The Eagles limited Musselman to nine shots in the quarter.

It was a hole the Applemen would struggle to climb out of the rest of the evening.

"We scouted Musselman very well," Church said. "We knew we would have to keep the ball out of Sean Corbett's hands as much as possible. I think our kids did that."

Corbett, Musselman's marquee player, finished with 11 points, 10 coming in the second half with the Applemen trailing by 20-plus.

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