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Eagles turn Cougars inside-out

March 02, 2006|by CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - It was Hedgesville's ability to get the ball inside that left the Jefferson boys basketball team on the outside looking in.

Down by 39-38 entering the fourth period, the Eagles went to J.R. Mayles and Denver Effland in the paint to spark a 16-6 run and eliminate the Cougars 64-54 in the West Virginia Region II Section 2 semifinals Wednesday night at Shepherd University's Butcher Athletic Center.

The Eagles (15-6) will face Martinsburg for the section championship Friday at 7 p.m. at the Butcher Center.

All seven of Hedgesville's fourth-quarter field goals came from within 5 feet of the basket.

"The best thing we did tonight was we were willing to attack the basket," said Eagles coach Kelly Church. "They take us out of our offense and force us to make plays. In the long run, that makes us better, but that's not our comfort zone."

While Hedgesville was getting the ball inside, Jefferson (13-9) was unable to find the range, shooting mostly from the perimeter. The result was a 3-minute scoring drought to open the final period, followed by Josh Brown and Jordan Hosby providing all of the Cougars' offense, combining for 15 fourth-quarter points.

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"We were in a scramble press, trying to come back, but (the Eagles) didn't pull (the ball) out," said Jefferson coach Bob Starkey. "That's what they had to do."

An early 9-2 run pushed Jefferson to an 11-8 advantage entering the second quarter. Mayles and Michael Lopez combined to outscore the Cougars 15-10 in the final 7 minutes of the first half to pull within 25-24 at intermission.

While Jefferson's pressing forced 11 first-half turnovers, the Cougars were unable to consistently convert, hitting just 12 of 24 shots from the field in the first 16 minutes.

Ryland Newman, Brown and Tehron Jacobs kept pace with Mayles and Effland in the third quarter as Jefferson maintained its one-point edge.

Not only did Hedgesville shoot well from the floor in the fourth period (7 of 14), but the Eagles maintained that pace throughout the game. The Eagles also buried 12 of their 14 fourth-period free throws, including 6 of 6 by Jordan Reed.

The Mayes-Effland duo, which averages 20 points per game, came through with 34 on Wednesday as each players scored a team-high 17. Lopez added 16 for Hedgesville.

Brown's 18 points - 14 of which came in the second half - led Jefferson, while Ryland Newman chipped in 12 in the loss.

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