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Eagles have wings clipped by Notre Dame Academy

February 08, 2005|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - Drama took center stage with the Apple Valley League's two unbeaten teams ready to lock horns on Monday night.

Notre Dame Academy came to town as one of Virginia's best, ready to take on Hedgesville, one of West Virginia's best in girls basketball.

In the first two minutes, Notre Dame clearly displayed its superiority and the Dragons went on to slay Hedgesville 66-35, snapping the Eagles' 27-game Apple Valley League winning streak.

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Just 2:02 into the contest, Brittany Russell got the Dragons (20-1, 6-0) started, Liz Miller followed with a trey and Ebonie Williams hit two free throws and it was 8-0 before Miranda Reed scored for the No. 1-ranked Eagles (16-2, 6-1).

Notre Dame had a 22-2 lead after the first eight minutes and it went to 31-8 at halftime.

The Eagles were guilty of eight turnovers in the opening period and were 1 of 8 from the floor. Conversely, Notre Dame had but two turnovers and hit 5 of 8 from two-point range and 3 of 6 beyond the arc.

"We certainly didn't make anything happen out there tonight," said Hedgesville coach Ben Merica. "We're all disappointed and embarrassed. If they aren't, then they don't need to be wearing a jersey."

Notre Dame, with its only loss coming to D.C. powerhouse Good Counsel, pressured the Eagles into 24 turnovers and held Hedgesville to 34 percent shooting (16 of 47) while hitting 25 of 49 themselves.

"We've played an amazing schedule," said Notre Dame coach Mike Teasley, whose sister is Los Angeles Sparks and former St. John's at Prospect Hall star Nikki Teasley. "Being new in a league, this was a very big game for us and we wanted to establish ourselves against the best."

Hedgesville has failed to step up to the task against the "big boys" which concerns Merica. The Eagles other loss was an 81-37 defeat to Petersburg, West Virginia's top-ranked Class AA team.

"I'm still trying to find out what they can do in a big game," Merica said. "The results were the same as they were against Petersburg. Tonight was ugly. We're only OK against people right now that we should beat.

"We've tried to go with the race horses, but we just don't have the thoroughbreds."

Hedgesville was only able to string more than two points together on three occasions in the game.

Samantha Guell, who led the Eagles with 15 points, hit a conventional 3-pointer midway through the third period and Guell and Miranda Reed had consecutive buckets near the end of the period. Reed and Shuashanna Faulkner hit back-to-back goals in the fourth quarter.

Reed, Hedgesville leading scorer, was held to eight points - six below her average - and was spotted working on ball mechanics in the auxiliary gym 30 minutes after the game.

Lauren Thomas-Johnson led the Dragons with 19 points and 6-foot-1 senior Russell added 14 while Williams, of Hagerstown, contributed nine points from her 2-guard position.

"This was a big step coming to Notre Dame" said Williams, now a 5-8 sophomore who began refining her game in AAU basketball with North Hagerstown girls coach Barry Brown. "It was hard getting started in the beginning, but here things are so structured. It was a good choice in my life. Hear, we respect everyone and fear noone."

After Monday night, Hedgesville is searching for the fear factor.

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