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Hubs make their case in opener

December 07, 2005|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

If last year's North Hagerstown girls basketball team was the Clark and Thompson Show - featuring center Chelsea Clark, now at Division I Radford University, and point guard Cara Thompson - this year's act reads more like an attorney's office.

It's the Thompson-Morel-Powell-Jackson hoops firm - with a double dose of Wheeler thrown in.

The Hubs' six-player whirlwind left Liberty in the dust in both teams' opener Tuesday night, as North deflated the Lions with a 17-0 first-half run on the way to a 57-44 victory.

While Thompson entered this season as the main attraction, she played no larger role in Tuesday's victory than any member of her supporting cast. Veronica Wheeler led the way with 12 points, Valentina Wheeler and Shawayna Morel had 10 points each, Thompson and Brooke Powell had eight points each and Kishia Jackson added seven points. Morel had five rebounds and five steals, and Valentina Wheeler had five rebounds and three steals.

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"It's a different look," Hubs coach Barry Brown said. "We've got players that can play. Cara's a great player and other teams know that, but we have other players that can get the job done and we have faith in everybody we put on the floor."

Trailing 6-5 three minutes in, North held Liberty scoreless for more than eight minutes while the Hubs' offense found room in the Lions' defense to slash to the basket. Valentina Wheeler scored two baskets in transition to start the decisive run, and Morel, Powell and Thompson all made strong drives to the hoop in the final two minutes of the first quarter as North claimed a 16-6 lead.

Powell scored inside to start the second quarter, before Veronica Wheeler nailed a 3-pointer and Morel made a foul shot to cap the 17-point run and make the score 22-6. Later in the quarter, Jackson scored five points, including a 3, in a 9-0 run as the Hubs went into halftime up, 33-13.

The lead reached 22 points twice in the third quarter - including at the final buzzer on Thompson's banked 3-pointer from 25 feet. The Hubs then cleared the bench in the fourth and played recklessly, resulting in 19 of North's 34 turnovers, but the miscues had no real effect on the final outcome.

"We could have worked the clock a little better, but we were full throttle and I let them go a little bit," Brown said. "This team's young and we'll get better.

"We didn't need to win by 30. We had it won, and I'm real happy that our bench got in there. We have a lot of work to do, but tonight was a good start."

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