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Eagles girls have eyes to stifle Cadets

February 20, 2004|by BILL STERNER / Staff Correspondent

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - About the only thing the Hedgesville girls basketball team didn't live up to in its win over Frederick Thursday was its nickname.

The Eagles didn't fly ... instead they ran.

Hedgesville's Jennifer Hoffman scored a game-high 19 points, including nine in a three-minute stretch in the second half, as the athletic Eagles used quickness to score a 48-31 victory over the sluggish Cadets.

The Cadets led briefly at 7-6 on a Brittany Moore layup with just under two minutes remaining in the first period. But a 3-pointer and a breakaway layup by Samantha Guell followed by a 3-point play by Tiffany Linn just before the buzzer gave the Eagles a 14-7 lead.

From there, No. 3 Hedgesville (15-4) never looked back.

"We started out a little slow against Fort Hill," Hoffman said. "But once we started running, I thought (Frederick) had a hard time keeping up."

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"(Hedgesville) is definitely a running team," Frederick coach Randy Steiner said. "They are quick, in shape and well coached."

The Eagles used a balanced game to swiftly pull away from Frederick (8-11).

A stifling zone trap stalled Frederick's offense frequently, and mixed with the Cadets' inability to hit open shots, it allowed Hedgesville to widen the gap. Frederick only managed to hit 20 percent of its shots.

"Our shots just would not drop," Steiner said. "Ever since all those missed weather days, this team just has not recovered."

Amanda Dellinger's putback with just under two minutes to go in the half gave the Eagles a 28-11 lead on the way to a 32-11 advantage at the half.

"I like to say we play well on both sides of the ball, but we play defense extremely well," Hedgesville coach Ben Merica said. "I was a little worried at the beginning of the game, but we refocused and played well."

In fact, the Eagles opened up a 48-20 lead early in the fourth quarter before Merica went to his bench to play out the game.

"We would like to play deep into our playoffs," Merica said. "We are playing good defense and we shoot better all the time."

"This was a great team effort going into our sectionals," Hoffman said. "I feel good about how we played here tonight."

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