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North boys clinch share of Antietam title

February 09, 2005|BY CURT HORNBECKER/Staff Correspondent

It's all so predictable. North Hagerstown turns up the defensive pressure, the opposition wilts, and North wins.

The Hubs' boys basketball team made it appear almost that easy Tuesday night with a 74-59 win over Brunswick, remaining undefeated in league play and clinching at least a tie for the MVAL Antietam Conference championship.

Defensive pressure forced eight Railroaders turnovers in a seven-minute span as North (14-4, 10-0) reeled off a 16-1 run to turn a six-point deficit into an 18-9 lead with 6:48 left in the second period. Tyrell Wilson led the charge with six points.

"We started the game at the pace we wanted," said Brunswick coach Dan McLane. "We were making shots and keeping them off the glass. But we knew sooner or later a team like (North) is going to make a run. We just needed to keep their runs short; six or eight points, not 16 points."

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The Hubs' stifling defense held Brunswick (7-10, 6-4) without a field goal for more than nine minutes in the run.

"We just work hard in practice on our defensive intensity," said Wilson. "We want to get turnovers to score some easy points."

After North's run, Brunswick managed to claw back into the game, but the Hubs responded by finishing the quarter on an 11-6 spree.

The Railroaders pulled within 38-31 midway through the third period, but Quielan Gantt responded with seven of his game-high 26 points to extend the margin to 13 entering the final eight minutes.

Behind Joel Hafner and Aaron Main, Brunswick closed the gap to 54-47 early in the fourth quarter, but North - hitting six of seven free throws - scored 12 of the next 14 points to secure the win.

"(Brunswick) did a nice job of staying in the game," said Hubs coach Tim McNamee. "But we did a nice job down the stretch. There were no big runs, but we put together a few miniruns that put them away."

The Railroaders might have gotten considerably closer in the fourth period if not for stellar free throw shooting for North. Despite hitting just three of 10 in the first three quarters, the Hubs drained 15 of 18 in the final eight minutes to seal the win.

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