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Hornes' face-up game gives 'Dogs new weapon

February 11, 2005|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - For most of the season, Martinsburg believed that Andre Hornes' best game was behind him.

But on Tuesday, the Bulldogs were forced to do an about-face. Now, it seems, Hornes might be facing even better days ahead.

For much of his junior season, Hornes has played down low in the Bulldogs' offense, with his defenders and the basket at his back. But on Tuesday, partially by neccessity, Hornes was brought out to the foul line and allowed to look at the hoop while going face-to-face with his Hedgesville defender.

What happened was dynamic as Hornes scored 26 points - including a pair of much-needed 3-pointers - to help Martinsburg earn an important 55-53 victory over host Hedgesville, all but throwing the sectional seedings into disarray.

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"Andre has so much athletic ability," Martinsburg coach Dave Rogers said. "When he is active and hot, he's tough to stop. Andre is better facing the basket than he is with his back to it. When he can shoot the 3 and drive the basket, he's tough."

Martinsburg brought Hornes out to the high post in an effort to open the inside near the basket while giving him room to operate with the ball. Hornes scored eight of the Bulldogs' 12 points in the fourth quarter, including both critical 3s to bring Martinsburg back from deficits.

With Q'Monte Metheny suffering through an off-shooting night and Nate Sowers out with an ankle sprain, it made Hornes' contributions all the more important.

"I knew coming in that I needed to step up more," Hornes said. "I needed to shoot more and do whatever I needed to do to win."

Martinsburg was out of sync in the early going, falling behind 12-5 until Sowers came off the bench for four minutes before re-injuring his ankle. In his short stint, Sowers got the Bulldogs organized and helped ignite Hornes, who scored six points down the stretch as Martinsburg closed to within 17-16 after one quarter.

"Right after the first jumper, I knew I was on," Hornes said. "I knew I had to keep shooting."

Hornes' play ended up giving Martinsburg the chance to win the game, but it wasn't by scoring any more points. Instead, he became an unwitting decoy as the Bulldogs' guards tried to get him the ball in the final 21 seconds.

Hedgesville's defense covered Hornes, but opened up the backdoor lane which allowed Nick Benavides the opportunity to score a layup with 2.4 seconds remaining for what became the margin of victory.

"We really wanted to get the ball to Andre because we thought we had a mismatch," Rogers said. "He's so athletic, we wanted to set up Andre on an isolation play. Nick used some great mentality and broke to the back door on a move he usually doesn't do. It was a good team win but Andre played well."

Hornes' high-post play adds another weapon to Martinsburg's arsenal as the Bulldogs try to scratch out a top seed in the Class AAA Region II Section 2 playoffs. If Jefferson manages to defeat Hedgesville tonight, the seeding will be determined by coin flips.

With Hornes facing the basket, he can see all his offensive possibilities right in front of him.

"Andre is coming on," Rogers said. "There have been times when he has been in the doghouse because he hasn't been doing what we want. ... But now, he's starting to get it."

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