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Two-Town Showdown makes rivals allies

December 26, 2006|by DAN KAUFFMAN

Usually, when North Hagerstown's and South Hagerstown's boys basketball teams are in the same gym, it's only a matter of time before the city rivalry takes hold, the intensity builds and the sparks start to fly.

But the annual Two-Town Showdown with Cumberland high schools Allegany and Fort Hill - being held this year at South on Wednesday and Thursday - flips the script. For the Hubs and Rebels, it's more about the word "Hagerstown" than the words "North" or "South."

"We tend to be territorial when it comes to our Hagerstown area and Washington County," Rebels coach Dennis Seman said. "We always try to cheer on the team that represents us because it makes us look good. It gives us all a chance to see how we do against other counties."

"I think we at least root for the Hagerstown team, and that's pretty much true all the time except when we're playing each other or in a race for a league title," Hubs coach Tim McNamee said. "It's been a pretty nice tournament over the years. You get to play two different teams you normally wouldn't play."

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Both North (1-4) and South (0-4) have gone through early-season growing pains, and considering the solid starts both Fort Hill (4-0) and Allegany (3-1) have gotten off to, those pains may not end this week. However, both Seman and McNamee believe their teams have the potential to be sleepers in the MVAL Antietam.

"We have had a very difficult nonconference schedule this year purposely, just to give them a taste of what it's like to play (Class) 4A teams," Seman said. "(The Two-Town Showdown) is our last chance to tune up for our conference. Even though Fort Hill and Allegany are 1A teams they're so established that they play like 2A or 3A schools. They're so fundamentally sound, and that's what I want our team to be. Our kids aren't down, they know they'll be playing against teams we can match up with (in the MVAL Antietam). I kind of like our prospects."

"They're always solid teams year after year, so it's a good experience before you start league play," McNamee said about the Cumberland competition. "It gets you prepared. I don't see any negatives to it at all, it's positive thing. ... For us right now, it's about little things. We'll try to execute in situations that are going to come up later on in bigger conference games. For the Christmas tournaments, you're just looking to work on things that help you later on."

n No holiday tournament brings together rivals quite like the boys' "Great Tri-State Shootout" and the girls' "Shoot Out the Lights" tournaments, both of which feature Clear Spring, Hancock, Southern Fulton and Berkeley Springs - all rivals within a 20-mile radius of each other.

While the boys tournament will be played at Berkeley Springs on Wednesday and Thursday, Hancock hosts the girls tournament on Friday and Saturday.

"(The rivalries) adds a lot to it," Panthers girls coach Rocky Wills said. "Not only do you play them in the tournament, but you play each in the regular season. For us, they're all big rival games right now."

Berkeley Springs (3-4) and Southern Fulton (3-3) will open the girls tournament Friday. The winner will be the odds-on favorite to win the title. Clear Spring (1-4) and Hancock (0-5) will play in Friday's other first-round game - The Blazers beat the Panthers 63-28 on Dec. 15 for their only victory.

"Our mindset is to play a little better defense, take care of the ball and hopefully make some shots. Those are the three things we've really struggled with," Wills said. "This is my fourth year, and the effort as far as busting our tails, I think that's always been there with these kids. As far as the skills, taking care of the ball, boxing out, playing some good defense and making some shots, that's basic basketball. If you do those four things well, you have a chance to win some games."




Holiday Basketball Tournaments



Boys Basketball

Two-Town Showdown at South Hagerstown

Wednesday

Allegany vs. North Hagerstown, 5:30

Fort Hill vs. South Hagerstown, 7:30

Thursday

Fort Hill vs. North Hagerstown, 5:30

Allegany vs. South Hagerstown, 7:30

Richard E. Doub Classic at Williamsport

Wednesday

Beall vs. Greencastle, 5

Walkersville vs. Williamsport, 7

Thursday

Consolation Game, 5

Championship Game, 7

James Buchanan Christmas Tournament

Wednesday

Dallas vs. Smithsburg, 3:45

James Buchanan vs. Lancaster Mennonite, 8

Thursday

Consolation Game, 3:45

Championship Game, 8

Musselman Holiday Tournament

Wednesday

Boonsboro vs. James Wood, 3

Musselman vs. Faith Christian, 7

Thursday

Consolation Game, 3

Championship Game, 7

The Great Tri-State Shootout at Berkeley Springs

Wednesday

Clear Spring vs. Southern Fulton, 6

Hancock vs. Berkeley Springs, 8

Thursday

Consolation Game, 6

Championship Game, 8

Martinsburg Tournament

Thursday

Jefferson vs. Morgantown, 6

Martinsburg vs. TBA, 8

Friday

Consolation Game, 6

Championship Game, 8

Teams playing in tournaments outside of the Tri-State area include:

ยท Waynesboro at the New Oxford Tournament on Wednesday and Thursday.

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