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Hamms warms Hubs off bench

February 17, 2006|By CHRIS CARTER /Staff Correspondent

North Hagerstown junior Greg Hamms had his coming-off-the-bench party Thursday night against rival South Hagerstown.

The Hubs' reserve scored a career-high 24 points as North notched the season sweep of the Rebels with an 87-71 victory in MVAL Antietam boys basketball action.

"(Playing South) got me pumped," said Hamms. "I just wanted to come out and play my hardest."

Hamms came off the bench in the first quarter with the Hubs suffering through a shaky start and provided a spark. The 6-foot-1 forward made his presence known on both ends of the floor and finished with 10 rebounds and four steals.

"That's his job. He's just a ball hawk," said North coach Tim McNamee. "I think he's better coming off the bench and he gave us a spark tonight."

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The Rebels (7-14, 5-9) beat the Hubs (15-5, 12-1) at their own fast-paced game at the outset, forging a 16-5 lead midway through the first period. Marshall Conner led the way with eight points, while Dominique Byrd hit a pair of 3-pointers.

"In the first quarter we played to our strengths," South coach Dennis Seman said. "We controlled the ball and took good shots."

South eventually wilted under North's pressure. The Hubs' man-to-man defense forced the Rebels into 14 first-half turnovers. North scored six of the final eight points of the first quarter and opened the second with a 12-0 run to take a 29-22 lead.

"North is an explosive team with quick guards," Seman said. "We're not used to seeing that kind of pressure. They've got a great stock of talent."

The Hubs led 44-38 at halftime, before pulling away in the third quarter. North forced eight more turnovers and, at one point, increased the lead to 20, fueled by nine points by Hamms. Fellow junior Dee Mency shook off a rough first half with five points, including a leaping mid-court steal and 360-degree layup.

South's Dominique Byrd closed the third quarter with a 3 and opened the fourth with three straight buckets as the Rebels went on an 11-0 run to close the gap to 64-55.

North's Tyrell Wilson stopped the flurry with one of his eight offensive rebounds and two of his 17 points. Wilson finished with a team-high 13 rebounds. North regained its double-digit lead on a Mency basket with 4:22 remaining and the Rebels couldn't get it back within reach. Mency also finished with 17.

"It was a very streaky game for both teams," McNamee said. "There were a lot of runs back and forth and that happens in a lot of North-South games. They just never were able to get it to within a basket or two."

In possibly their last games against the Hubs, Byrd and Conner shined on Senior Night. Byrd had a game-high 28 points and Conner added 18, but it wasn't enough to extend the Rebels' winning streak to four games.

"We're trying to get ready for the playoffs next week," Seman said. "We had won six of seven, but at the end of the year you want to play tough games like we did tonight."

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