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Eagles soar into final

March 04, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - With Jefferson packing in its 1-3-1 zone defense, Hedgesville shooters Dustin Gregory and Tony Powell knew exactly what to do.

They took turns shooting the Cougars into oblivion.

Gregory and Powell hit for six of the Eagles' seven first-half 3-pointers and Hedgesville outscored ice-cold Jefferson 17-3 in the first quarter of a 57-43 victory in the West Virginia AAA Region II Section 2 boys semifinal game at Shepherd College.

"The best laid plans of mice and men don't always come to fruition," Jefferson coach Scott Douglas said. "When we were playing our 1-3-1 zone, I don't think I've ever told our wing guys to play at the elbows. When they started making their 3s, we were 10-15 feet away.

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"If you don't go out and at least get a hand up, you (reporters) can make the shots."

Gregory and Powell each made two 3s in the first eight minutes, and Hedgesville (20-3) used a 12-0 run over the quarter's final five-plus minutes to put Jefferson (6-14) in a double-digit hole early.

The Cougars made just 1 of 11 shots in the first quarter and were outrebounded, 14-6.

"As well as we shot the ball in the first quarter, I was equally pleased with how we played defense and boxed out," Hedgesville coach Kelly Church said. "In the first two games against us, they had only made eight (3-pointers). We felt if we kept them out of the lane and then boxed out, they wouldn't be able to score enough points."

A 12-2 run during the first four minutes of the second quarter made it 29-7, and Hedgesville essentially cruised into Friday's sectional final against Martinsburg.

The Eagles led 45-22 late in the third quarter when Church told his players to slow the game down. Jefferson went on an 18-6 run to get to within 51-40 with 90 seconds left, but time ran out on the Cougars.

"Once it got to the four-and-a-half minute mark, we have enough confidence in our free throw shooting that we wanted to hold the ball and save our legs," Church said. "I think it was Coach Church holding us more from scoring than Jefferson."

Gregory led Hedgesville with 17 points and Powell finished with 13, all of them coming in the first half. Matt Deaner added 10 points.

Josh Brown led all players with 19 points - including four of Jefferson's five 3s - and Marcus Allen added 13 for the Cougars.

Hedgesville lost two meetings to Martinsburg this season, the second by one point, 60-59, when the Eagles had a chance to win on a last-second shot.

"They're obviously extremely talented, extremely athletic," Church said. "We know they're good, but we're good, too."

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