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Hubs, Warriors split doubleheader

February 08, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

There were times the Boonsboro boys basketball team felt like the blue plate special on Tuesday.

Especially in the third quarter, when North Hagerstown handed to ball to one main player and made Mency-meat out of the Warriors.

North's Dee Mency took control in the third quarter with hard moves to the basket and a frenetic pace to push the Warriors out of their style and then out of their game in an 81-63 MVAL Antietam victory.

Boonsboro's girls earned a split in the doubleheader, pulling out a 57-53 win over the Hubs.

"We didn't play very well starting out in the third quarter," Boonsboro coach Sam Connelly said. "In the third quarter, they went to Mency and he broke us down with the dribble. I wanted the defense to jump out and take the ball out of his hands, but we were a little slow."

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It made for a tough comeback effort for the Warriors (9-9, 5-5) against a quicker, more athletic North team which rode two spurts to take a 38-28 halftime lead.

With Mency at the controls, North went into full attack mode. The junior scored only 10 of his game-high 26 points in the period, but kept the North offense in Boonsboro's face for much of the period.

"There are other ways he helps out when he isn't scoring," North coach Tim McNamee said. "We let him guard anyone he wants out there - out front or inside on a big guy. He just plays so hard all the time and it rubs off on the rest of the team."

The Hubs unleashed a 12-8 run in the opening 3 minutes in the second half to establish a 50-36 stronghold on the lead. Mency scored seven points in the burst and set the tone with his bold moves down the middle.

Boonsboro found itself at a disadvantage with two players missing from the lineup. The Warriors were without leading scorer Adam Flook, who missed the game with a sprained toe, and Matt Byers, who is out for the season with a torn meniscus.

North pushed out to a 77-52 lead with 2:22 remaining and coasted to the victory.

Boonsboro had early control in the first half with its controlled play. The two teams traded leads four times and had two ties until North made its first of two scoring spurts to get a working margin.

"We have been working really hard to control the tempo," Connelly said. "In the first half, we held our own on the boards and came in at the half hitting 9 of 17 foul shots and had 14 turnovers. North is very quick and used that 1-3-1 defense to trap and get the game moving up and down the court."

The two defensive stands gave the Hubs the lead they held for the last 26 minutes of the game. North took advantage with fast moves out of two Boonsboro timeouts to gain the halftime lead.

"We changed our defense coming out of the timeouts," McNamee said. "We weren't getting any defensive consistency, so we threw in a trap here and there."

North used balance to take down Boonsboro, as Jarell Rodriguez had 16 points, Fred Kreiger had 10 and Greg Hamms came off the bench to add 14. Josh Miller had 21 while Michael DeBarge had 10 for the Warriors.

"(North) had the ball in the hands of the best player in the conference and he played like it," Connelly said.

ยท For the first 29 minutes of the girls game, the story was all about North Hagerstown.

But Boonsboro wrote the moral of the story in the final three minutes.

The No. 6 Hubs had their way with the No. 3 Warriors for 95 percent of the game with defense and penetration, but it didn't last long enough to pull off the upset in a 57-53 MVAL Antietam loss.

"I'm very pleased with the way we played, but once you're in the situation, you gotta finish," North coach Barry Brown said.

That's been the story for the two teams' seasons - North has been able to start, but Boonsboro has finished.

The Warriors used a pair of key steals by Sarah Keyser in the final 90 seconds to break a 51-51 tie, both resulting in Alex Baker layups. After spending most of the game with an open-door policy in the lane, the Warriors tightened up the defense to make the decisive move.

"The other night against Catoctin, we got in foul trouble," Boonsboro coach Max Shaffer said. "I tried to ease things off a little to stay out of trouble because we are one girl short and thin inside. (At the end) we were playing man defense, but I told them that all their points in the first half came off driving the lane. I told them to step out and help."

That help was what Boonsboro needed to get over a hump riddled with missed foul shots - many that just rolled off the rim - and soft rebounding.

After Veronica Wheeler hit a putback with 25 seconds left to put North back within two points, Baker hit two foul shots with 3 seconds remaining to ice the game with two of her game-high 24 points.

"I think because of the other night, we didn't attack the glass," Shaffer said. "They got a lot of easy putbacks on us. I'd rather have a hard game right now because they have been pretty easy for us most of the year. We need the tough games because everyone we play will be tough in the playoffs."

North pushed Boonsboro early, leading 14-11 after one quarter and 31-26 at the half. The Hubs held a 41-39 lead after three quarters and were in position to take the game until midway through the fourth quarter, when Shawayna Morel and Kristen Mitchell fouled out. From there, the Hubs started to unravel.

Jerica Hewett added 17 for Boonsboro as the Warriors' only other double-figure scorer. Morel led North with 15 points and six steals, while Veronica Wheeler had 12 points and Valentina Wheeler had eight points and nine rebounds.

"I thought the girls played with a lot of intensity tonight and played well enough to win," Brown said. "We just didn't play as smart as we should have in the last three minutes."

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