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Hubs, Armstrong derail 'Roaders

January 18, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

Matt Armstrong is the shortest player among the regulars on the North Hagerstown basketball team.

The 5-foot-10 junior point guard stood as tall as any of his teammates Friday, leading the Hubs to an impressive 87-55 victory over Brunswick.

Armstrong's value came in the steals and assists categories. He pick-pocketed Brunswick's guards for a school-record nine steals and added 11 assists as the Hubs (8-3, 3-0 MVAL Antietam) played one of their best all-around games this year.

"He's got the quick hands," North coach Tim McNamee said. "He's been banged up a little but he played great defense."

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Armstrong's play helped limit Brunswick's Craig Wachter (also playing with a sore wrist) to 10 points.

"We had maybe two defensive breakdowns. Otherwise, I think I've got to search a lot to find much wrong in what we did tonight," McNamee said.

Chad Baker and Jason Anderson each scored baskets for a 4-2 Brunswick lead early in the game. Then Armstrong went to work.

Bernard Harris drilled a 3-pointer from the left wing before consecutive steals by Armstrong led to baskets by Marshall Branch and Harris to put the Hubs up 10-4 with 4:32 left in the opening period.

Branch added five more points and Colby Thompson had four as the Hubs led 26-15 after one period with a shooting performance that included 8 of 12 from 2-point range and 3 of 6 beyond the arc.

A quick six-point burst had the Hubs out front 34-20, then came an 11-0 run that included five points from Quielan Gantt on the way to a 45-25 halftime lead.

"We shot the ball well tonight and that was because we moved it well around the floor," McNamee said. "Brunswick is a dangerous team and we had plenty of respect for them."

The Railroaders (5-5, 1-2) had a five-game winning streak, including decisions over Linganore and Middletown, before losing to Williamsport, but they were out of sync offensively as the Hubs created havoc.

"Their quickness created so much for them offensively," Brunswick coach Jim Sklencar said. "Their defense got them easy shots and they shot well (37-for-72) overall."

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Gantt led the Hubs with 20 points, Harris followed with 17, Branch 11 and Thompson 10 as 12 Hubs had points penciled in the scorebook.

"Our bench has been playing well and right now I can go nine-deep," McNamee said. "They've practiced well and I'm happy with that."

Jason Anderson led Brunswick with 15 points and Brandon Thompson had 10 points, all in the fourth period as one of a few Railroaders that produced some energy.

"We've lost our edge since December," Sklencar said of his Railroaders. "North's a good team and it would have taken alot to beat them but we need to be tougher and get some intensity back."

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