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Reinforcements help Hubs hold off Wildcats

February 06, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

WILLIAMSPORT - There were a pair of pleasant surprises in the North Hagerstown basketball camp on Thursday night.

Oh yeah, North's usual scoring leaders were at the top of the pack, but two unfamiliar names were instrumental in the Hubs' 72-64 victory over Williamsport in MVAL Antietam Conference action.

Seldom-used senior Trevor Hullinger contributed eight points and sophomore Jarrell Rodriguez, the "newbie" of the group wearing North varsity red for the first time, added seven points along with five assists.

Both played key roles as Hubs coach Tim McNamee plays point-guard-by-committee in a search to replace Matt Armstrong, lost to the team via ineligibility.

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Hullinger scored six points in the final period and Rodriguez added a critical 3-pointer that gave the Hubs a 65-62 lead with 2:35 to play before Marshall Branch scored five of his 10 fourth-period points to close out the Wildcats in the waning seconds.

"It feels good to score my first varsity points but even more so we got the win," said Rodriguez. "I didn't think I would play as much as I did. I was really nervous but after the first free throw (in the second period), I started to calm down."

McNamee started Chris Grove at the point but moved him to shooting guard when Rodriguez came in.

"Jarrell could help us at the point and he'll make Chris a better guard at the two spot," McNamee said. "And Hullinger stepped up. He practices hard and has stuck around the program as a senior and when you have patience like he does, good things happen."

The Hubs (10-4, 5-1) started on fire hitting their first eight two-pointers on the way to a 21-16 first-period lead and held a 31-21 margin with 3:10 left in the half before the Wildcats closed the gap to 34-29 at the break as Will Roney delivered three baskets.

The Wildcats (8-8, 3-5), playing their fourth game in less than a week while North was playing its third in three weeks, were still down by 41-33 before going on an 8-0 run to tie the score, capped by Roney's basket and two free throws.

Rodriguez hit his first varsity 3-pointer and Bernard Harris followed with a basket, but the Wildcats rallied with a 9-0 run topped off with Josh Bowers' trey on the way to a 54-51 lead after three.

Roney hit a pair of free throws that ended up being Williamsport's last lead, 62-60, at the 3:10 mark before Hullinger scored, followed by Rodriguez' second 3-pointer.

"Practice keeps me on my toes so I'm ready each game," Hullinger said. "I just try to go out and work hard and do whatever I can do to help the team win."

Bernard Harris led the Hubs with 18 points while Branch added 16 along with a team-high 12 rebounds. Quielan Gantt contributed 13.

"We lost a big lead early very quick because of turnovers," McNamee said. "Williamsport is not a bad team. They played us tough physically inside with their high-low offense."

Roney paced Williamsport with 19 points while Ben Jordan hit for 12 and also had a team-high nine rebounds. Corey Broadwater added 10 points and five boards for the Wildcats.

"We put ourselves in a position to win the game, but we started to force some passes and make some turnovers," said Williamsport coach Deron Crawford. "Overall I'm pleased with the effort. We had some momentum and a lot of guys gave me good minutes tonight."

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