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Reed gives major assist to lead Eagles

March 01, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - When Miranda Reed knows early in a game her shot is not on the mark, she shifts her attention to other aspects of her game.

The 5-foot-5 senior point guard hit only 1 of 8 shots in the first half and ended 3 of 11, but she focused herself as the floor leader by dishing out 12 assists and recording six steals to lead Hedgesville past Hampshire 55-45 on Tuesday night for the Eagles' third straight West Virginia Class AAA Region II championship.

Hedgesville (22-2) advances to the state tournament in Charleston, beginning March 8. Pairings will be announced Friday morning.

"I know when my shot is off the mark early that I have to pick up the defense and be a leader," said Reed, who snipped off the last piece of the championship net during the team postgame celebration.

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Two of her assists came on crowd-pleasing behind-the-back bounce passes amid traffic in the paint to Ashton Butler.

"Those were pretty cool, weren't they?" Reed said with a grin.

"(Reed) is so steady and she goes so hard," Hedgesville coach Ben Merica said. "Her defense, her steals, she creates so many opportunities."

The Eagles led 29-22 at halftime and Butler came out blazing in the third period, scoring two quick deuces and a trey to put the Eagles up by 12 and force the Trojans (16-6) to make a defensive move.

Hampshire went to a 1-3-1 defense that kept Hedgesville off the board for five minutes before a basket by Jen Finafrock broke the drought and gave the Eagles a 40-32 lead after three periods.

Hampshire chipped away in the fourth, cutting the lead to 44-42 when Julieanne Buckley hit a 3-pointer after an errant Hedgesville inbounds pass.

"We went four corners trying to draw (Hampshire) out of that 1-3-1," Merica said. "We were having troubles with it and at the same time after we got that lead they started getting some baseline entries."

Butler, who led the Eagles with 18 points, hit a jumper from the key, but the Trojans answered with a 3-pointer by Whitney Mathias that cut the deficit to 46-45 with 2:30 left.

Reed stepped up and her shot clicked twice, connecting on a 3-pointer and following up with a steal in the Hampshire frontcourt and taking it the distance for a layup and 51-45 margin.

Reed and Jennifer Hoffman each added two free throws with less than 21 seconds left to seal Hedgesville's third straight trip to Charleston.

"If you don't win you can point to it being the first time, but we've been there, won one game and now we want to go and get at least two wins and have that feeling of playing on Saturday night," Merica said, which would point to a final game on March 11.

Guell added 11 points and Hoffman had 10 for the Eagles, who committed only 10 turnovers.

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