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'Dogs escape with one-point victory

February 11, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Hedgesville had one week to prepare for Tuesday's battle against rival Martinsburg.

Usually a finesse-type club, Eagles' coach Kelly Church said his troops needed to be more physical to play with No. 1 Martinsburg, and that's what was stressed in practice.

It almost worked in the end for the Eagles, but Martinsburg avoided another upset with a heart-stopping 60-59 victory over Hedgesville.

The entire game, played before a full house flooded with excitement, boiled down to the final play with Martinsburg holding a one-point lead with 22 seconds left.

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Hedgesville's Matt Yurish got a square look at the hoop, but his shot with six seconds remaining from near the arc on the right wing rimmed away and the Bulldogs (12-1) celebrated, having rallied from a 46-40 deficit early in the third period.

"If you're not far more talented than the team you are playing, you can't match finesse against physical," Church said. "We worked on being a physical presence and far more aggressive."

However, Church felt far more disappointed in his own "aggressiveness," which resulted in a technical foul in the waning moments of the third period with Hedgesville (11-3) clinging to a 52-49 lead.

Martinsburg's Jeff Horst went to the stripe and knocked down both shots and immediately followed with a basket for a 53-52 Bulldogs lead entering the final period.

"The technical is by far my biggest disappointment of the night," said Church, who was a tad too investigative of calls by the officials. "That technical cost us two points, and that was the difference."

Martinsburg, despite a 15-3 burst to open the game, saw its lead wither away as Hedgesville zinged the nets for a 25-point second period. Matt Deaner's three 3-pointers and a pair by Tony Powell staked the Eagles to a 40-37 halftime lead.

Coming off its loss to South Hagerstown and with the performance of his team Tuesday, Martinsburg coach Dave Rogers will focus on a revival as his club plays host to a talented Beckley team tonight before traveling to state No. 1 Morgantown on Saturday.

"I don't know if we're in a mid-season slump or what, Rogers said. "We didn't play defense particularly well. We're having some ups and downs, but if we don't play hard, good things won't happen."

Horst led Martinsburg with 15 points while Durrell Johnson, who fouled out, added 13 along with 10 rebounds. Brandon Barrett chipped in with 12 points.

Deaner had 22 points while Powell added 14 and Duncan Williams had 10. Dustin Gregory had nine rebounds for Hedgesville.

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