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Eagles soar to section title

February 25, 2006|by CHRIS CARTER /Staff Correspondent

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - When it was time for the West Virginia Region II Section 2 championship plaque to be presented Friday night, one would be hard-pressed to find a better trio to accept it.

Sam Guell, Miranda Reed and Jennie Finafrock - the driving forces for Hedgesville all season - met at midcourt at Martinsburg High School, where the Eagles were officially declared sectional champions after thumping Jefferson, 57-30.

Guell missed nearly half the game with early foul trouble, but still finished with seven points. Reed had a game-high 18 points and 10 assists and Finafrock had a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

"We've all been getting on each other about going after rebounds and playing hard," Reed said. "Coming into this thing, we're like it's now or never."

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With Guell out of the game, Hedgesville (21-2) lost an important body on the inside, but Finafrock was there to pick up the slack with five of her six baskets coming from inside the paint. Finafrock also grabbed five rebounds on the offensive end.

"Jennie did a good job when we had some players with some fouls," Hedgesville coach Ben Merica said. "There's been quite a few games where she's responded when we needed her."

Finafrock had help from fellow senior Reed, who assisted on four of her baskets. Finafrock returned the favor with two assists to Reed.

"We've been playing together for so long that we know exactly what the other is doing," Reed said. "I always know where she is on the court and she knows where I am."

Headed by Reed, the Hedgesville defense seemed to know where each player on the Jefferson squad was, too. The Eagles' man-to-man defense smothered the Cougars (10-12), who attempted just six shots in the first quarter, including two half-court heaves before the buzzer.

That same swarming defense was a flaw for Hedgesville (21-2) as foul trouble and fatigue forced Merica to switch to a 2-3 zone defense.

"Sometimes we lose the feel for what we can and can't do," Merica said. "One thing we can't do is swat at the ball.

"We went to a zone to protect a couple of girls. We had one with two fouls (Guell) and another that was a little bit tired. We don't prefer to play it, but it's something we know how to do."

Whatever the defense, Jefferson had trouble cracking it. The Cougars trailed by double-digits for nearly all of the second half and only once trailed by nine.

Dezirea Clinton led Jefferson with nine points.

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