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'Big Three' leads Hubs in opener

December 10, 2003|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

As Bernard Harris, Marshall Branch and Quielan Gantt go this winter, so will North Hagerstown's boys basketball team.

Branch scored 18 points, Harris 17 and Gantt 15, and the Hubs forced South Carroll into 16 first-half turnovers, building a 17-point first-quarter lead and maintaining it in a 71-54 victory in North's opener Tuesday night.

"It's no secret we're looking for those three to score," said Hubs coach Tim McNamee. "All three played really well tonight."

South Carroll (0-1) came out unprepared for North's full-court pressure, and the Hubs capitalized on eight Cavaliers turnovers and hot three-point shooting for a 24-7 lead after eight minutes.

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Branch hit two of his three 3s in the quarter and Harris and Gantt also had treys as North got the shots it wanted against South Carroll's 2-3 zone.

"Our shot selection was pretty good," McNamee said. "We saw zone three-fourths of the time ... and we were pretty patient against it."

The Hubs (1-0) extended the lead to 20 early in the second quarter and led 34-17 at halftime.

South Carroll tried to make a game of it in the third, using a 14-6 run to cut the lead to eight at 42-34, but North went on a 14-0 run across the third and fourth quarters to extend the lead to 56-34. Gantt and Harris both had five points in the run.

The Cavaliers made one final push in the fourth, being the Hubs' defense down the court in transition for some easy baskets and getting within 11 at 65-54 with 1:18 left to play. North made 4 of 6 foul shots late to help seal the game.

"I wasn't satisfied with our defense as a whole," McNamee said. "We came out strong and forced some turnovers, but we need to learn how to put teams away and play with more enthusiasm throughout the game."

The Hubs are entering a difficult stretch of non-conference games, starting Thursday at Frederick. North then plays Walkersville, Urbana, Linganore and Thomas Johnson, all within the next two weeks.

"Our schedule won't get easier," McNamee said. "We have to try to learn from it and get better later in the season."

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