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Excitement picks up as playoffs loom

February 17, 2006|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

It was another week of sublime performances in the Tri-State area, and the slate for next week, especially on the boys side, looks exciting - and that's not even including the Pennsylvania playoff games. Let's get right to it:

Games to watch



Boys

Hedgesville at Martinsburg, today - The Bulldogs have won nine of their last 10 games to get a leg up on the rest of the Eastern Panhandle, but only beat the Eagles by five points on the road on Jan. 20.

St. Maria Goretti at Williamsport, today - These two teams play similar styles of patient, disciplined basketball, making this a rather intriguing matchup.

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Urbana at Jefferson, Saturday - One of Frederick County's best teams travels to the Eastern Panhandle to test the Cougars, who have fought through plenty of adversity to win their last four games.

Williamsport at North Hagerstown, Monday - The Wildcats must duplicate what they did at home in a 55-53 victory over the Hubs on Feb. 3 on North's court to share the MVAL Antietam title.

Martinsburg at Mercersburg Academy, Wednesday - The Tri-State area's top two teams meet for the second time this season. The Blue Storm edged the Bulldogs 65-61 in Martinsburg on Jan. 11.

Middletown at North Hagerstown, Wednesday - The Hubs get a pre-playoffs glance at how tough the road through Class 2A West will be when they host one of the region's strongest teams in the Knights, who will no doubt test North physically inside.

Girls

St. Maria Goretti at Williamsport, today - Like the boys game, this one has the makings to be pretty competitive, with the Wildcats' Smith sisters battling Sarah Spierenburg and Erica DiMercurio in a matchup of teams that are vastly improved from the beginning of the season.

Boonsboro at Catoctin, today - The Cougars have the MVAL Antietam title wrapped up, and the Warriors are assured of second place, but heading into playoff time, both of these teams would love to generate momentum with a big win here.

North Hagerstown at Williamsport, Monday - The Wildcats won the first meeting 44-42 at North on Feb. 3, and this one figures to be just as competitive.

Best of the week



Boys

Dee Mency, North Hagerstown - His scoring isn't anything new ... with 23 points last Friday at Clear Spring and 25 more on Monday against Catoctin, Mency has scored at least 23 points in seven straight games ... but he went a step further with 12 rebounds against the Blazers and 10 against the Cougars.

Dominique Byrd and Muzammil Bhutto, South Hagerstown - Behind Byrd and Bhutto, the re-energized Rebels have won six of their last eight games. Byrd had 16 points and eight rebounds at Hancock on Feb. 9, 25 points and 15 rebounds at Catoctin last Friday and 15 points at Boonsboro on Monday. Bhutto had 13 points and five assists against the Panthers, 16 points and five assists against the Cougars and 13 points against the Warriors.

Phil Jordan, Williamsport - Came close to a quadruple-double against Clear Spring on Wednesday, posting 18 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and seven steals.

Jaren Gembe, Greencastle - Scored 15 points in the Blue Devils' final regular-season game last Friday against Boiling Springs, then poured in 25 to lead them past Susquehanna Township on Tuesday in the Mid-Penn Tournament quarterfinals.

Brandon Bryan, James Buchanan - Filled the stat sheet against Camp Hill last Friday with 19 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals.

David Thomas, McConnellsburg - Had 14 points and 12 rebounds against Southern Fulton last Friday and 17 points and 16 rebounds against Everett on Tuesday, giving him a double-double in each of his last seven games and 16 of the Spartans' 23 games this season.

Eduardo Archibold-Brown, Mercersburg Academy - Had 18 points and 13 rebounds in the Blue Storm's second victory over Notre Dame Academy this season on Feb. 9.

P.J. Hixon, Southern Fulton - Scored 14 points in last Friday's win over Sideling Hill League rival McConnellsburg, then scored 23 and grabbed five rebounds on Tuesday against Northern Bedford.

Andre Hornes, Martinsburg - Had 14 points and eight rebounds in last Friday's win over Musselman, then exploded for 31 points against St. Maria Goretti on Tuesday.

John Kehr, Broadfording - Scored 25 points and pulled down 12 rebounds in Monday's victory over Highland View.

Jordan McBeth, Cumberland Valley Christian - Had 20 points and 13 rebounds last Friday against Faith Christian, then posted 16 points, six rebounds and five steals Tuesday at cross-town rival Shalom Christian.

Chris Apple, Faith Christian - Had 16 points and 14 rebounds last Friday at Cumberland Valley Christian.

Steven Barthalow, Heritage Academy - Led the Eagles to the MDCC regular-season title with 24 points at Shalom Christian on Feb. 9 and 30 points and six steals against Broadfording on Tuesday.

Jonathan Peckman, Shalom Christian - Had 17 points and 14 rebounds against Heritage Academy on Feb. 9 and had 13 points and six rebounds against Cumberland Valley Christian on Tuesday.

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