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Martinsburg wants three more games

March 14, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

After nearly four months of basketball, the 2005-06 season is about to end for Martinsburg. But the Bulldogs hope not before they play three more games.

If that's the case, the Bulldogs will extend their year to Saturday. But first things first, Martinsburg (19-5) goes up against Capital (17-7) on Wednesday morning at 11:15 when the West Virginia boys state tournament tips off at the Charleston Civic Center.

Should Martinsburg get past Capital, it's likely the Bulldogs would get a matchup Friday against No. 1 seed Huntington in the Class AAA semifinals.

The Bulldogs reached Charleston with victories over Hedgesville and Musselman in Region II play, while Capital defeated Ripley and Parkersburg South. Martinsburg's region wins put aside a two-game losing streak to finish the regular season.

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Coach Dave Rogers has been a familiar face in Charleston during his 27 years mentoring the Bulldogs. This is Martinsburg's 22nd appearance in Charleston and the Bulldogs hope to reach the Final Four for the 15th time and duplicate their state title of 1994.

Senior Andre Hornes, who can hit the 3-pointer as well dominate on the inside with his 6-foot-5 frame, said near the end of the regular season that he wasn't ready to end his career.

"I don't want my senior year to end. ... I want to get to Charleston," Hornes had said following a win over St. Maria Goretti on Feb. 13 in which he scored 31 points.

When Hornes is on his game, he can be the best in the area. He had a season-high 36 pointa against Park View (Va.) and a 35-point effort against Hedgesville on the way to averaging 17 points a game.

Junior Q'Monte Matheny has seen his point production dwindle in recent games to 15.5, but he does so many other things well with his quickness and speed that are vital to any Martinsburg success.

And Rogers as usual will count on the other three probable starters - 6-5 Emile Payne along with Isaiah Alford and Xavier Peters. Payne can be a physical force in the paint defensively, and Rogers looks to Alford and Peters for added point production and the defensive pressure to force turnovers.

Capital, which rebounded from a 2-4 start to the season, has some youth, but its team leader is 5-9 senior guard Ron Hall. Hall scored 17 points and had five assists and six steals in the Cougars' 68-62 victory Parkersburg South in the region final. Sophomores Malik Witten, with 11 points, and Tyronne Goard, with 10 points, were the other mainstays for Capital, which tries to uses its defensive quickness to force turnovers.

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