Basketball notes - Hubs, Rebels renew rivalry

January 30, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

Throughout his 20 years roaming the North Hagerstown sideline, Hubs coach Tim McNamee never has led his team into a meeting with cross-town rival South Hagerstown that wasn't meaningful.

"It's always a good matchup," McNamee said. "Regardless of how good the teams are, it's always a special game, and sometimes they're better than others when both teams have good teams and that's the way it's been recently."

Expect the parking lots and the stands to be overflowing at North tonight when the Hubs and Rebels renew acquaintances. The girls game serves as an appetizer at 6 p.m., followed by the boys game.


"Other than maybe a state tournament, it's probably the best atmosphere the guys can play in," McNamee said. "It really helps motivate all the kids, and usually something unexpected happens, somebody steps up in the game you wouldn't expect to step up, and that helps make it special."

Breaking it down

Both the Hubs (9-3, 4-0) and Rebels (10-2, 5-0) have a trio of stars they rely on for the majority of their scoring.

South's David Miner - the 2003 Herald-Mail Player of the Year - has been simply unstoppable in averaging 32.8 points, 9.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 4.5 steals per game. He's been held under 20 points only once (by No. 1 Martinsburg) and has scored 30 or more in eight of 12 games.

Miner is 65 points short of Scott Kidd's career record of 1,384 points at South.

"We don't have anybody who can match up with him, but then again, no one else does either," McNamee said.

When Miner isn't lighting up the scoreboard, 6-foot-8 center Jesse Gutekunst (11.5 points, 11.8 rebounds) and 6-6 forward Gene Johnson (17.4 points, 10.1 rebounds) are hitting the boards and finishing underneath.

"They are a tough team to match up on, and we'll probably try to mix things up," McNamee said. "One thing you can't do against them is turn the ball over, because they create offense with their defense, and the other thing you can't do is give up second shots, because they're so good on the boards. Other than that, we have to go out and play. There's no secrets, we have to play well to win."

The Hubs will look to Bernard Harris (19.2 points, 8.3 rebounds) for plenty of offense. Harris had 34 points as North rallied to beat Clear Spring last Friday.

"He's one of our scorers, and that's all there is to it," McNamee said. "He has to score for us, but he can't do it by himself."

Forward Marshall Branch (10.8 points) will play tonight after a frightening head-first fall to the court following a dunk in the first quarter of the Clear Spring game sent him to the hospital. Branch escaped serious injury, suffering a gash on his forehead which required six stitches. The stitches were removed Thursday.

"He was sore for a while, but nothing's broken," McNamee said. "One thing I'm concerned about is how tentative he's going to be, but once the game begins he'll get on the horse."

Quielan Gantt (12.8 points) also will be looked for on the offensive end, and while Gantt has been more aggressive in going to the hoop this season, shaking off his outside shooting woes - where he's 5-for-31 from beyond the 3-point line - wouldn't hurt.

In order to upset the Rebels, the Hubs will need role players such as Colby Thompson, Chris Grove and Bo Parker to make significant contributions.

"The good players have always played well, but it's hard to predict the future, every night's different and every game's different," McNamee said.

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