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North girls take steps in right direction

December 08, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

It's been some time since the North Hagerstown girls basketball team saw the upside of a .500 record. If indications hold true, the Hubs won't be an automatic win on their opponents' schedules this year.

North opened its campaign filled with promise with a 54-47 victory Tuesday night over a South Carroll team that had decimated the Hubs 70-43 in the opener last year.

Chelsea Clark, one of only two seniors on the roster, and sophomore Cara Thompson each posted double-doubles while the Hubs withstood 25 turnovers and 10 of 23 shooting from the charity stripe. Clark scored 21 points and pulled down 20 rebounds while Thompson collected 13 in each category.

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"Considering this is pretty much the same team that beat us so bad last year, I couldn't be happier with this win," said Hubs coach Barry Brown. "These girls have worked hard in the past year and they wanted to come out tonight and make a statement."

The Hubs avoided being plagued by early turnovers by taking a 16-8 lead despite committing eight miscues. North used a strong effort on the backboards to keep South Carroll's possessions to one shot.

"I've seen these girls so much, I knew when they came out tonight they had some serious nerves," Brown said. "After all, I've got a lot of young kids on this team. They might have been 'up' a little too much."

A nine-point run that overlapped halftime gave North a 35-24 lead. The Hubs led 40-26 with 4:14 left in the quarter when Thompson drained one of her two 3-pointers from the top of the arc.

Once again, turnovers started to hurt the Hubs in the final period. After settling down for only nine miscues in the middle quarters, North committed eight more in the fourth quarter, this time with South Carroll taking advantage to whittle its deficit down to 50-47 with 1:41 left.

"We might have gotten a little tired, we might have gotten a little passive, but South Carroll picked up its intensity at the end," Brown said. "But we made some nice plays to stay ahead of them."

North kept South Carroll off the scoreboard the rest of the way while managing to convert 3 of 8 free throws down the stretch.

"We've gotten stronger over the summer playing AAU ball," Clark said. "I think we'll grow stronger as a team as the year goes on. We're looking forward to it."

Clark hit 9 of 23 from the floor, many of which were tough rebound and putback efforts in heavy congestion. She also hit from the 12-foot range as she teamed with Thompson for a tough one-two punch. Thompson also had five assists.

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