Loss fails to ground Heritage's boys

February 03, 2006|By DAN KAUFFMAN

Though Heritage Academy's bid for an undefeated boys basketball season came to an end last Thursday at Cumberland Valley Christian, the Eagles (17-1) are still flying high, tied with Shalom Christian for the Mason Dixon Christian Conference lead at 9-1.

Heritage travels to Shalom on Thursday, with the conference title likely hanging in the balance. The Eagles won the first meeting 53-49 on Jan. 20.

Steven Barthalow has been the offensive catalyst for Heritage, averaging 17 points per game and shooting 56 percent from the field. On defense, Barthalow and Travis Hendershot combine for seven steals per game, and Hamilton Stamper is a stopper in the paint, blocking 3.6 shots per contest.


Greencastle's boys all but wrapped up the Mid-Penn Capital title with a thrilling 60-59 victory at James Buchanan on Tuesday. The Blue Devils turned the tables after falling to the Rockets 63-54 in Greencastle on Jan. 6.

Three boys and four girls are averaging a double-double at this point in the season.

The boys - Alex Tyler, Mercersburg Academy (15.1 points, 10.5 rebounds); Zack Koontz, Grace Academy (12.4 and 12.1); and John Kehr, Broadfording (13.2 and 10.2).

The girls - Jennifer Willison, Hancock (18.2 and 14.3); Emily McCoy, Berkeley Springs (15.8 and 11.5); Nikki Stephenson, Mussleman (12.6 and 12.1); and Brittany Eberly, Heritage Academy (13.3 and 10.2).

McCoy is also fourth in the area in steals (3.4 per game) and tops in blocked shots (3.5 per game, a full block better than St. Maria Goretti's Sarah Spierenburg, whi's second).

Not only does James Buchanan center Shane Rife score in volume - he's averaging 15.8 points per game - but he does it efficiently. Rife is 119-for-202 from the floor this season, an impressive 59 percent.

Rife has nothing on Grace Academy boys center Jamie Heckman, who has made 71 of 111 shots (64 percent).

Other players who, once they get the ball in their hands. the next place it's likely to be is the net: Waynesboro boys forward Kevin Kline (95-for-171, 55.5 percent); Greencastle boys forward Adam Wiestling (74-for-130, 56.9 percent); Hancock's Willison (96-for-186, 51.6 percent); and Hedgesville's girls duo of forward Samantha Guell (76-for-153, 49.7 percent) and point guard Miranda Reed (70-for-144, 48.6 percent).

Coaches love players with a knack for grabbing offensive rebounds, because it's a measure of hustle as well as an extra opportunity to score.

North Hagerstown has a pair of opportunistic ball-hawks on the offensive glass: Dee Mency (43 of 87, 49.4 percent) and Tyrone Wheeler (44 of 81, 54.3 percent).

On the girls side, the offensive glass provides yet another opportunity for Hancock's Willison (97 of 200, 48.5 percent) and Berkeley Springs' McCoy (104 of 195, 53.3 percent) to demoralize opponents and give their teams a boost.

Best of the week


Dee Mency, North Hagerstown - The area's leading scorer at 23.4 points per game, Mency scored at least 26 in each of the Hubs' three games last week, with 28 last Friday against Smithsburg, 26 on Tuesday against Burnswick and 29 at Urbana on Wednesday.

Dominique Byrd, South Hagerstown - Had three solid games last week, going for 24 points and 10 rebounds last Friday at Brunswick, scoring 20 points at Clear Spring on Tuesday and 23 against Hancock on Wednesday.

Brandon Bryan, James Buchanan - His streak of games with 20-plus points reached five as he scored 20 last Friday at Big Spring and 21 against Greencastle on Tuesday. Bryan has scored at least 17 points in nine straight games.

David Thomas, McConnellsburg - Posted two double-doubles, with 15 points and 10 rebounds last Friday against Fannett-Metal and 20 points and 11 rebounds on Tuesday at Southern Huntingdon.

Charlie Shank, Broadfording - Did everything he could to try to push the Lions past Faith Christian on Saturday (Broadfording lost by two), scoring 18 points, grabbing 15 rebounds, dishing out six assists and making five steals.

Andrew Larson, Cumberland Valley Christian - Scored 24 points as the Blazers handed Heritage Academy its first loss of the season last Thursday, then scored 26 against York Bible on Monday and 17 against Broadfording on Tuesday.

Travis Hendershot, Heritage Academy - Scored 16 points and made two free throws at the end of overtime to give the Eagles a tense 51-50 victory over Grace Academy on Wednesday.

Shannon Strange, St. James - Displayed his all-around talents twice, going for 30 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and five steals last Thursday against Bishop Walsh and finishing with 25 points, eight rebounds and eight assists against Grace Academy on Monday.


Jennifer Willison, Hancock - After watching her 24-point, 23-rebound, six-steal effort at St. Maria Goretti on Saturday, one never would have guessed she didn't feel well.

Shawayna Morel, North Hagerstown - Though the Hubs fell to Smithsburg last Friday, Morel stole the show individually, scoring 22 points, grabbing eight rebounds and swiping four steals.

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