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Knights win MVAL thriller

February 02, 2003|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

The box score will say Middletown's Lenny Mongeon scored six points against North Hagerstown on Friday.

What it won't say, is Mongeon hit what could turn out to be the biggest shot this season in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League.

Mongeon swished a wide-open 16-foot jumper from the right baseline with four seconds left, giving the No. 3 Knights a 64-63 victory over the No. 6 Hubs and restoring Middletown's two-game lead over North in the loss column.

"I shot pretty badly up to that point," Mongeon said, "but it felt pretty good coming off. ... I was just speechless. I couldn't have asked for a better way to win the game."

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"Lenny had struggled with his shooting, and for him to step up and hit the big one was huge," Knights coach Jon Jarrett said.

Marshall Branch's desperation 65-foot heave at the buzzer sailed long off the upper half of the backboard.

Middletown (11-2, 9-1) was coming off a 70-65 loss at Boonsboro on Wednesday that meant putting first place in the MVAL on the line against North (13-3, 9-3). But the Knights put the upset behind them Friday by erasing a seven-point deficit in the final five minutes.

"I can't even put into words how happy I am with the kids, how they never gave up," Jarrett said.

As for the Hubs, file this game under the category of blown opportunities.

North wasted a 32-point performance by Bernard Harris and failed to come up with the one big play it needed to get over the hump. The Hubs at one point missed three consecutive foul shots and turned the ball over four times in the last three minutes - the final time on an inbounds play holding a 63-62 lead with 14 seconds left.

"We certainly had our chances to win the game, no question about it," North coach Tim McNamee said. "We made mistakes throughout the game. We had a chance to put it away and didn't do it."

Middletown led 36-27 with a minute to play in the first half, as Pete Colwell scored 20 of his 24 points in the half. Colwell slashed through the lane for layups and also spotted up for three 3-pointers as teammates drove the lane.

"The first half I was just feeling it," Colwell said. "Everybody was looking for me, and I was getting a lot of open looks."

Harris finished the first half with 17 points - including all five in North's quick 5-0 run to end the half. He added 11 more points in the third quarter, while the Hubs picked up their defensive effort and started cutting off Middletown's forays into the paint. The Knights scored just seven points in the third quarter as North took a 46-43 lead.

But Harris failed to get an open look in the game's final four minutes, while Colwell made one last play to get Middletown the victory - taking an inbounds pass with 11 seconds left, running the length of the court and driving down the lane before kicking out to Mongeon on the right with seven seconds left.

"Pete made a great penetration move," Mongeon said, "and he did a great job passing it out."

Mongeon took care of the rest.




No. 3 Middletown 64 No. 6 North 63


MIDDLETOWN (64)

Kehoe 7, Mongeon 6, Colwell 24, Joe Keimig 2, John Keimig 13, Gilligan 8, Lear 2, DeMoss 2. Totals 24 10-14 64.

NORTH HAGERSTOWN (63)

Harris 32, Spruce 8, Gantt 2, Bellon 7, Branch 8, Claybon 6. Totals 24 11-18 63.

Middletown 19 17 7 21 - 64

N. Hagerstown 17 15 14 17 - 63

Three-point goals - Middletown 6 (Colwell 3, John Keimig, Gilligan 2), North 6 (Harris 4, Spruce 2).

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