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No. 1 Eagles run away from tired Applemen

February 01, 2006|By TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

INWOOD, W.Va. - Even the pro and college basketball teams hate playing four games in five nights, much less a high school team having to do so.

The Musselman girls were in that position on Tuesday night as No. 1 Hedgesville invaded Cline Court and as any top-rated team would do, the Eagles took advantage and powered their way to a 70-50 Apple Valley League victory.

"That was our mindset coming in, to wear (Musselman) down," said Hedgesville coach Ben Merica.

Even though there was enthusiasm at the outset on the part of Musselman, it became apparent a run by Hedgesville midway through the first period was already beginning to take its toll.

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Musselman (7-9, 4-3) held a brief 8-5 lead before the Eagles (13-2, 5-0) ripped off a 14-0 spurt, ignited by Samantha Guell's 3-pointer and the conversion of three Musselman turnovers into seven other points.

"Yes, the girls were tired," said Musselman coach Mike Marsh. "We had a good start and (Hedgesville) got that run and we were kind of deflated after that. And (Guell) killed us on the boards."

A brief surge at the outset of the second quarter got the Applemen back to a 23-18 deficit, but Guell hit a 3 and Ashton Butler and Guell followed with deuces that pushed the lead back to 30-18 with 4:20 left in the half.

Hedgesville attacked Musselman's zone defense with precision during its early run and throughout the second period with guard Miranda Reed running the show. Reed had six first-half points along with four assists, demonstrating quickness that gave Musselman fits.

When Hedgesville, which shot 39 percent (26-for-67), missed, Guell was around to grab a missed shot as eight of her 17 rebounds came on the offensive glass. Even so, Musselman still managed a 44-37 margin on the boards, with Nikki Stephenson pulling down 17.

"Reed played with quickness and (Jennifer) Hoffman played with energy on defense, trapping the wing," said Merica. "And (Samantha), when she's not taken out, is very present as a rebounder."

Guell didn't do bad as a scorer either as the Eagles rebounded from a pasting Saturday by Notre Dame Academy.

"After the (Notre Dame) game, we felt being a good team we had to come out and make a statement," said Guell. "We knew Musselman had to be tired and we looked to run the floor."

Hoffman hit 6 of 12 from the field and led four Hedgesville players in double figures with 15 points. Reed collected 14, including 7 of 7 from the stripe in the final period, Guell added 13 to complete her double-double and Butler had 12.

"We just had a matter of a bad schedule," said Marsh, whose girls returned to action Tuesday after playing at Hancock on Monday night. "Our spirits were willing, but physically we couldn't be there."

On the brighter side for the Applemen, they'll get Hedgesville again under somewhat fresher circumstances in two weeks.

Stephenson led Musselman with 18 points and Rachel Boyd added 10.

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