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Guell breathes life into Eagles

February 24, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

INWOOD, W.Va. - Hedgesville sophomore Samantha Guell is blossoming at the perfect time for the No. 3 Eagles.

Guell continued her recent hot streak Monday night, scoring 16 of her game-high 20 points in the first half as Hedgesville built a 41-20 halftime lead and easily defeated Musselman, 73-51.

"Over the last six games she's averaging 16.5 points," Eagles coach Ben Merica said. "She is definitely a stabilizing force for us."

Guell showed a soft touch from the perimeter as well as power inside at both ends of the court, finishing with six rebounds and six blocked shots.

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"She's always had that touch," Merica said. "She's gotten a little stronger and her range has gotten better."

Guell had 10 of Hedgesville's first 15 points as the Eagles (17-4) raced out to an 18-6 lead in the first seven minutes. She added four points in a 13-0 second-quarter run - with Tiffany Linn adding five of her 13 points - as Hedgesville took a 37-14 lead.

The Eagles extended the lead to as many as 29 points early in the fourth quarter before Merica cleared his bench. Amanda Dellinger - used primarily as a defender and rebounder - added 13 points for Hedgesville.

"Offensively, this was the best game of the year for Amanda," Merica said. "She does her job and gets her rebounds. She doesn't have to score for us."

April Kees was the only player in double figures for Musselman, scoring 11 of her 15 points in the second half. Kees made four 3-pointers against a Hedgesville defense Merica wasn't entirely pleased with.

"I really wanted us to come out and defensively I wanted to see more," Merica said. "We're not moving our feet. ... We're reaching for the ball and losing control of our bodies."

Hedgesville next plays in the Region II Section 2 championship game Friday against the winner of Wednesday's semifinal matchup between Jefferson and Martinsburg, and Merica hopes his kids find more energy between now and then.

"That's pretty much it, we just need to have bodies ready to play," Merica said. "Our defensive energy needs to be stepped up."

Jennifer Hoffman and Miranda Reed each added seven points for the Eagles.

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