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No. 3 Bulldogs ground Eagles

January 21, 2006|By TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. -

Isaiah Alford woke out of a slumber, Andre Hornes answered the bell in the second period and Jordan Jackson was the cement between the cracks on Friday night for the Martinsburg Bulldogs.

Alford led Martinsburg to a 10-point first-half lead and Hornes, responding from a disciplinary measure, scored all of his 16 points in the second half as the No. 4 Bulldogs disposed of Hedgesville 58-53 in front of a packed house.

"(Isaiah) has been in a slump but he came to play and did a great job on the inside in the first half," said Martinsburg coach Dave Rogers. "And (Andre) answered the bell, especially in the second half, and Jordy ... well, he just played an all-around great game."

Alford had eight of his points in the second period, including a pair of 3-pointers, as the Bulldogs (10-2) took a 26-16 lead. In the same frame, Hornes was inserted into the lineup after missing the first period, along with Wednesday's game, due to disciplinary action.

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Hornes didn't score until leading off the third period with a bucket, and he didn't stop there.

"We have school rules to follow, (Andre) understood he had to pay the price and he didn't sulk about it," said Rogers.

With Martinsburg rolling along and in complete control with a lead that reached 14 points several times through the third period, it appeared the more physical Bulldogs would not have to sweat out the final minutes as they took a 43-30 margin to the final frame.

Many of Hedgesville's first-half problems came while facing an unusual Martinsburg look - a zone defense.

"We didn't want to deal with their cuts and dives," said Rogers.

"We thought they would come out with (zone), maybe in the sectionals, but we had prepared for it," said Hedgesville coach Kelly Church.

However, it wasn't until the fourth period that the Eagles started to make satisfactory adjustments.

In a 2-1-2 offensive set, Church put freshman guard Jordan Reed at the high post, with Reed feeding a cutting teammate underneath. In turn, the play left the outside open and Michael Lopez began drilling 3-pointers. Suddenly, the Eagles were within 47-43 with 4:55 to play and had momentum building on their side.

A goal by Jackson preceeded a technical foul on Church, who questioned a personal foul call. The Bulldogs made three foul shots for a 52-43 lead.

Church said, "I made a mistake," to his players in a huddle and asked them to "pick me up."

Clinging to a 55-50 lead with 42 second left, Martinsburg took four consecutive trips to the foul line, and in each instance, Jackson pulled down an offensive rebound to limit the Eagles' offensive chances.

Lopez hit his seventh trey of the game with 12.2 ticks left to give the Eagles life, down 56-53, but Q'Monte Matheny and Hornes each hit 1 of 2 free throws, with the misses being rebounded by Jackson, for the final margin.

"(Coach) emphasized the boards and playing defense," said Jackson, a 6-foot-5 junior who led Martinsburg with nine rebounds as the Bulldogs commanded the glass, 29-13. "We worked on their style in practice. Coach said it was coming and we had to play smart. (Hedgesville) is a smart team."

Church said his team took time to adjust to the Bulldogs' defense.

"(They) extended us and we didn't know what to do in the first half, but we started doing good things in the second half, boxing out and moving the ball," he said.

Alford joined Hornes with 16 points for Martinsburg, and Matheny added 11 as the Bulldogs hit 18 of 36 shots, including 6 of 11 from behind the arc.

Lopez led all players with 27 points with a shooting touch attributed to a mechanical adjustment with his release this week.

"Anytime we go out, we believe we can win," said Lopez. "We just kept fighting back, played defense, but they just got more loose balls in the end."

Hedgesville tried one more shot from 3-point range than inside, going 9 of 20 outside and 19 of 39 overall.

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