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Eagles knock wind from Golden Tornado

January 13, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

HEDGESVILLE, W. Va. - Hedgesville coach Kelly Church has some lofty expectations for his Eagles - and it's not just winning basketball games.

"It may be unrealistic to say and expect, but I do expect to score on every possession of the basketball," Church said after his Eagles had just completed a 60-34 demolition of Keyser on Monday night.

Ranked No. 8 by The Herald-Mail and the West Virginia Associated Press in Class AAA, the Eagles didn't score on every shot but dominated a Keyser unit that had been given Class AA recognition in West Virginia and had lost by only five points last Wednesday to top-ranked Martinsburg.

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If it weren't for a two-point loss on Dec. 30 to Great Neck (N.Y.) North, Church would have his perfection in the win column through nine games.

"We scouted Keyser against Martinsburg and we knew we didn't have a great chance of going down low against their size," Church said. "Heck, we're only 6-1, 6-2 and 6-3 against them but we got some fouls inside and we did a good job on 3s (hitting five)."

And, it was a near-perfect first period which set the stage as Hedgesville soared to a 16-2 lead after the first eight minutes as Matt Deaner and Duncan Williams combined for 11 points and six rebounds.

Hedgesville's pressure defense forced turnovers on the Golden Tornadoes' first two possessions with Deaner scoring on a breakaway, following with an assist on a flashy dish to Williams.

Deaner nailed another basket and followed with a 3-pointer to make it 12-0 with less than four minutes having elapsed. Only a basket by 6-foot-5, 255-pound Matt Altobello kept Keyser (4-5) from being shut out.

When Altobello wasn't in the lineup, Keyser coach Lindy Shank inserted 6-7, 240-pound Jason Wright and 6-7, 245-pound Josh Wilson in the second period in a necessitated switch from man to a 3-2 zone defensively in an effort to get back into the game.

It worked briefly as Hedgesville cooled from long distance and Keyser's Ryan Spotts hit a pair of 3s to help trim the deficit to eight points.

The defining moment of the game came early in the third period when a mini-football game broke out under the Hedgesville basket.

No less than five shots, including putbacks, were missed without any whistles until Keyser's Aaron Amtower was hit with a personal and technical foul.

Deaner calmly stepped to the line and swished four straight free throws to put the nail two-thirds into the coffin. Williams followed with a 3 and suddenly Hedgesville led 34-19 with 6:10 remaining in the third period.

"We boxed out on the boards very well," Church said referencing the Eagles' holding a 38-37 rebounding edge over the more physical Golden Tornado. "We just need to start showing up every practice and every night like we did tonight."

Williams finished with 20 points to lead Hedgesville, while Deaner added 13 points and seven rebounds. Dustin Gregory had eight points and eight rebounds for the Eagles.

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