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Eagles get over hump, down CVCS

December 08, 2006|by CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

Early troubles couldn't stop the Heritage Academy boys and girls basketball teams from doing what they set out to do Thursday night against Cumberland Valley Christian School.

The Heritage girls got off to a rocky start in the opening game of the Mason Dixon Christian Conference doubleheader, but soon settled in and outlasted the Blazers for a 42-36 win.

It took the Eagles boys a few minutes before cracking the CVCS zone defense, then it was all Heritage as it ran away for an 81-55 victory, making it an MDCC sweep.

It took Heritage girls almost four minutes before they made their first basket, but it was answered with back-to-back CVCS buckets and an 8-3 advantage, leading Eagles coach Ed Dorsey to call a timeout.

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"We came out a little flat," Dorsey said. "I told them they had to pick up their intensity and start feeding off the defense to get some opportunities."

Heritage (4-1, 3-0) settled into its offense for the last half of the first quarter with Morgan McIntire dishing out three assists to pull the Eagles to within 13-10 by the end of the quarter.

Dorsey's aggressive defense kicked in in the second quarter when the Eagles created eight CVCS turnovers. Reserve Brianna Dorsey came up with three steals and the Heritage offense continued to move the ball as McIntire, Molly Holtzman and Brittany Eberly each had two assists. The Eagles ended with an 11-point run to take a 25-17 halftime lead.

"We didn't come to play," said CVCS coach Jon Shannon. "We got a couple of easy baskets early in the game and then put it on cruise control. We didn't do the simple things."

Despite inconsistent play, the Blazers managed close the gap to three points on the strength of two Miranda Payne baskets. Payne led all scorers with 22 points.

"Miranda is going to be our leader in most games, but we have to have some other girls step up," Shannon said. "That didn't happen tonight, but up until this point, it had."

The Heritage defense stepped up once again in the fourth quarter as it forced six more turnovers. Brianna Dorsey came up with three more steals and finished with seven, while Eberly stood tall inside the paint and grabbed 13 rebounds. Eberly was two points shy of her third straight double-double, while McIntire led the team with 15 points.

The Heritage boys fell into an early deficit as well, but once they got it going CVCS had little chance at keeping up.

The Eagles (4-0, 3-0) trailed 13-8 before running off nine of 11 points to end the first quarter, appearing to have found an answer to the Blazers zone.

It became clear midway through the second quarter.

Nursing a 22-21 lead with 4 1/2 minutes until halftime, Heritage coach Mike Kidd called the Blazers to the bench for a timeout. Out of the break, Steven Barthalow hit a 3-pointer and 6-foot-5 inch Hamilton Stamper hit a layup on a fast break to give Heritage its biggest lead. The Eagles ended the half on an 11-4 run for a 38-26 advantage.

The Blazers (2-2, 2-1) had no answer for Stamper on the inside, who scored 15 points and pulled in 14 rebounds in just over 20 minutes of action. Matt Shank also played big in the paint with 10 points and 11 rebounds, including two tip-ins when the Eagles struggled in the opening minutes of the game.

"Having those two guys underneath played a big part in the game," Kidd said. "When they can get position, it's tough to box them out."

Despite the size disadvantage, CVCS continually tried to charge through the lane for layup opportunities. And almost every time, the Blazers were met by wall of Eagles, often resulting in turnovers.

"They just made the decision that they were going to take the ball down the lane," Kidd said. "It didn't matter that we had people in there."

It was during that stretch that the Eagles really began to pull away. The turnovers allowed Heritage to set up its transition offense, directed by Barthalow, who had a game-high 29 points. Barthalow outran the CVCS defense and came up with three conventional 3-point plays.

"I like trying to mix it up and go all around with it," said Barthalow, who also showed his range with a pair of 3s. "If there's nothing there then I can go to the rim."

Fellow guards Philip Thurber and Cody Butts were also key in executing the fast breaks, both on the beginning and receiving ends. Thurber hit three 3s and had 14 points and Butts had nine points and five assists.

The Eagles outscored CVCS 24-10 in the third quarter and extended the lead to more than 30 points before giving way to reserves.

Charles McBeth led the Blazers with 15 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter.

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