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Hubs roll

Gantt sets shooting record; McNamee gets 300th win

Gantt sets shooting record; McNamee gets 300th win

February 21, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

SMITHSBURG - When North Hagerstown coach Tim McNamee walks on to the basketball floor Tuesday night against rival South, he'll be coaching his 500th game with victory No. 300 in his hip pocket.

When junior Quielan Gantt takes to the floor, he'll have North's school record for 3-pointers in his hip pocket after he torched Smithsburg with seven long bombs that fueled McNamee's marquee victory, a 76-45 win in MVAL Antietam action on Friday night.

Since becoming North's (17-4, 12-1) head coach in 1982, McNamee has compiled a 300-199 record, including a Class 2A regional championship and a state championship berth when the Hubs went 22-4 in 2001-02. His team won the MVAL championship in 2000-01 with a 16-2 record while going 21-3 overall.

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Most coaches refer their victory total to the efforts of the players and McNamee is no different. He's had several outstanding players in a program he took over after a stint as the North JV coach and an assistant in football and baseball.

"The thing I'm probably most happy about in this program has been its consistency," McNamee said as he paused from accepting congratulations from well-wishers. "Our teams might not have always played their best every night, but they have always been prepared and they played to their potential."

A graduate of North and Shepherd College, McNamee had the bug to coach "since I wasn't the most talented athlete."

"I liked all the sports and I wanted to be around them," McNamee said. "Over a period of time, you have your ups-and-downs and it gets frustrating at times, but I still enjoy coaching. There are coaches around town that have won more than I have and I admire them."

McNamee has admired performances from the bench by the likes of Scottie Rice, E.J. Fuller, Tony Ware and several others, and he certainly admired the performance of Gantt.

Smithsburg, employing a 2-3 zone defense, led briefly late in the first period before Bernard Harris made two free throws for an 11-10 North lead, followed by the first of Gantt's treys from the deep left wing.

The second period started slow for Gantt with a pair of two-pointers before he hit consecutive 3-pointers for a 26-15 lead halfway through the quarter. Another followed and Gantt had a 13-point period as North took a 38-15 lead.

If Smithsburg (3-17, 1-11) had any inclination of getting close, Gantt immediately doused those thoughts as he swished home three straight bombs for a 50-19 lead with 4:26 left in the third period.

"The shots just came to me," Gantt said. "I'm always practicing my shooting and even after practice I stay around and shoot."

After his barrage, Gantt took a rest, but turned a tad cold when he returned, still ending with a game-high 29 points. He had hit only 12 treys prior to Friday and shot 7 of 11 from the arc through three periods before missing all four of his efforts in the fourth period.

"Gantt's a pure shooter, and when he gets on a streak like that he's tough to stop," McNamee said.

Smithsburg didn't help itself in the first half with 16 turnovers, 11 in the critical second period as the Leopards' passing game in a patient offense went awry.

"We definitely wanted to slow the game with a zone defense," Smithsburg coach Eric Gerber said. "Our turnovers led to their scores and that just sped up the pace of the game for them."

Sophomore Jarrell Rodriguez had 14 points for North including an unusual four-point play late in the third period when he capped a 15-0 run with a 3-pointer and free throw.

Harris and Marshall Branch, two scoring mainstays for the Hubs, had 11 and five points on off nights, but Harris pulled down nine rebounds, as did Gantt.

"It feels good to get this win for Coach," Harris said. "Maybe we'll get a lot more this year. He always tell us to play for ourselves and not the coach."

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