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North rallies for win over South

January 15, 2003|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

Every time North and South Hagerstown lace them up, so many things are on the line - like bragging rights, city titles and traditions.

During the games, many of the virtual trophies are out of the minds of coaches Tim McNamee and Bob Starkey. They are in a battle for that invisible, uniformed sixth man.

"I've been involved in a lot of North-South games in the last 20 years as a coach and it comes down to games of momentum," said McNamee, North's coach. "You have to get it at the right time."

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Old Man Mo wore red in the final 2 1/2 minutes of the latest city matchup Tuesday as North Hagerstown overcame fouls and a flat second quarter with an 8-0 spurt to take a 69-64 victory over the Rebels before a overflow crowd at South Hagerstown.

"The right time for momentum?" McNamee asked. "Down the stretch is the right time."

North (8-2 overall, 4-1 MVAL) and South (6-3, 3-3) played to an action-filled 49-49 standoff through three quarters.

"I told them it would come down to will in the fourth quarter," said Starkey, South's coach. "Defense is will. Tonight, they had more will than we did."

The Rebels strapped their hopes on the back of David Miner, who scored 28 points and keyed a 26-10 second quarter with his rebounding and passing as South erased a seven-point deficit to roll to a 35-26 lead at the intermission. South scored the final nine points of the half.

Meanwhile, North battled through heavy foul problems at the half. The Hubs opened the second half with a 14-5 burst - behind two 3-pointers for six of Purnell Spruce's 21 points - to knot the score at 40 at the 5:35 mark.

"This is the type of game that you never get comfortable, but you don't have time to think about it," Spruce said. "Once we got going, I felt comfortable, but I never felt like we had them."

The teams battled through ties at 51, 53 and 55 in the fourth quarter. Spruce hit his third and final 3 before South answered with a tip-in by Miner and a Ben Mertz 3-pointer to take a 60-58 lead with 3:21 remaining.

Quielan Gantt scored North's next five points to give the Hubs a 63-62 lead with 2:23 remaining.

From there, everyone chipped in for North.

Marshall Branch scored two of his 14 points in the final stretch and the Hubs capped it off with four foul shots to assume a 69-62 lead.

"We were up nine early and then they came back and were up nine on us at the half," Spruce said. "Once I hit my two free throws (with 27 seconds remaining), I felt like we had them."

Once the momentum left, South was done for the night.

"We know we are a streaky team," Starkey said. "We were up and down ... we don't play with any control. In the first half, we got them to play the game we need. In the second half, they were getting second and third shots. This was a game of streaks and they got the last one."

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