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'Dogs' Payne puts a hurtin' on Eagles

March 04, 2006|By CHRIS CARTER

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. -

Hedgesville coach Kelly Church took a "calculated gamble" in his approach to stopping Martinsburg in the West Virginia Class AAA Region II Section 2 championship Friday night at Shepherd University's Butcher Center.

Church calculated that by cooling Bulldogs leading scorers Q'Monte Matheny and Andre Hornes, the Eagles could win the game. Church gambled that no other Bulldog would step up.

The gamble lost and so did Hedgesville. The Eagles contained Matheny and Hornes with a triangle-and-two, but were pummelled by Emile Payne, who was dominant in the paint and finished with 16 points as the Bulldogs outlasted Hedgesville 53-48 to win the section title.

Martinsburg (18-5) advances to the region final against Section 1 champion Musselman on Tuesday at the Butcher Center.

"We made a calculated gamble," Church said. "They had some kids hit shots that don't normally hit shots - that don't have to hit shots. I don't second guess the game plan."

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The 6-foot-6 Payne hit all seven of his baskets in the paint, including three offensive putbacks. Payne sent the Martinsburg side of the crowd into a frenzy when he followed a miss with a two-handed dunk less than a minute into the game.

"Emile Payne put us on his back and carried us," said Martinsburg coach Dave Rogers.

"I've been working real hard in practice and it's good to see it pay off," Payne said. "This is my best game against Hedgesville. It's my best game of the season.

Also stepping it up for the Bulldogs was Xavier Peters, who fueled a fast-paced first quarter for Martinsburg with eight points. Known as "X" by the Martinsburg faithful, Peters came up with two steals - one that was taken for a layup and subsequent free throw.

He closed out the period with a 3 at the buzzer to give Martinsburg a 23-19 lead.

Peters had his hands full on the defensive end with Eagles sharpshooter Michael Lopez, who drained five 3s.

"I was on him, but he was just getting off some good shots," Peters said.

Peters stayed on Lopez, keeping him from scoring until the final 28 seconds. With the Eagles (15-7) trailing 51-48, Lopez had a shot to tie the game with 10 seconds left, but the 3 went down and out.

"It went down, went down, went down, then came out," Church said. "Sometimes things fall your way and sometimes they don't. He's certainly the guy I want taking the shot."

Hornes hit two free throws to seal the win for Martinsburg. After scoring just six points in the first three quarters, Hornes scored seven in the fourth, including a tip-in with 1:28 that gave Martinsburg a 48-44 lead.

Matheny was held to just two fourth-quarter free throws.

Hedgesville's early containment of Hornes and Matheny allowed it to keep pace with the Bulldogs. The Eagles led once. After holding Martinsburg to six points in the second quarter, J.R. Mayles caught Lopez's short attempt and put it in to give the Eagles a 30-29 lead at halftime.

The Eagles were within a basket twice late in the game, but also missed the front end of two 1-and-1 chances.

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