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Allegany pair tie up Hubs, Rebels

December 28, 2006|by CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

The opening night of the fifth annual Two-Town Showdown at South Hagerstown became the two-team showcase for Cumberland teams on Wednesday.

Allegany opened the holiday mixer with a 50-39 win over North Hagerstown before Fort Hill capped the night by topping South, 78-65.

The Campers and Sentinels each withstood fourth-quarter surges from the Hagerstown teams before pulling away to double-digit victories.

Allegany scored the last six points of the first half - with Tyler Wharton scoring two baskets and assisting on a third - to knot the game at 25-25 at halftime.

The Campers finally pulled away in the third quarter, using an 11-0 run to take a 36-27 lead. Allegany outscored the Hubs 15-4 in the quarter to take an 11-point lead into the last period.

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Allegany's inside trio of juniors Jeff Babich and Travis Dordevic - both 6-foot-3 - and 6-2 senior Ryan Foutz eliminated North's ability to turn the game into a track meet by dominating the boards.

"You can't (run) unless you rebound the ball," said North coach Tim McNamee. "That's where we've struggled all year. Something will have to change for us to find a way to rebound. We're never going to be able to fix it completely, but we have to do something."

North tried to offset its undersized lineup with its defensive quickness. The Hubs forced six turnovers in the first quarter as they opened up a 12-6 lead. But by controlling the glass on both ends, the Campers were able to settle into their offense. Wharton directed the show, dishing out five assists while scoring a game-high 18 and hauling in eight rebounds.

"Tyler is the leader for this team," said Allegany coach Tedd Eirich. "He brings a lot to the team and when he's out there on the court, it gives us confidence."

Once Allegany took a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter, North was forced to turn its pressure back up and found more success. The Hubs forced six more turnovers and used a 6-0 spurt to close the gap to 44-39 with just under three minutes remaining.

The Campers answered with a tip-in by Justin Fagan and an offensive putback by Wharton to take the lead to 48-39.

"I can't fault our effort, but we have to start executing for 32 minutes," McNamee said. "We did it for about 16 or 20 tonight, but we have to find that consistency for a whole game."

Tyrone Wheeler and Marcellus Sumlin each had 12 points to lead the Hubs. Reshaud Moton added 10 points.

ยท South trailed Fort Hill by as many as 15 points before making its fourth-quarter charge.

Ted Dyson converted a four-point play to open the fourth quarter as the Rebels got within 10 points for the first time since the second quarter. South trailed 57-50 until the Sentinels came back with seven straight points to go up by 14.

South made a second cut into the lead about halfway through the fourth quarter when Steven Burnett hit two 3-pointers - the second of which was banked in. Sequan Baker and Muzammil Bhutto each added baskets to cut the score to 64-60 - the closest since it was 9-6 in the opening quarter.

Burnett started his first game of the season and led the Rebels with 17 points - including five 3s.

"That says a lot about South by coming back," said Fort Hill coach Todd Eirich. "Not to take anything away from them, but I didn't know they would shoot the way they did. I didn't expect that."

The Sentinels answered once again, this time scoring six points in a row - all by Zach Blank - to take a 70-60 lead. The Rebels never got back to within 10 points.

"Not to make excuses, but we haven't practiced since last Thursday," said South coach Dennis Seman. "We were a little sluggish and a little rusty and it took until the third or fourth quarter to get going."

The Rebels had trouble stopping both Blank and Jordan Brooks for the entire game. The duo combined for 53 of Fort Hill's 78 points. Blank scored 25 by controlling the pain, while Brooks added 28 by handling the perimeter.

The 6-0 Brooks tormented the Rebels in the first half with his jump shot - he drained three 3s - and enhanced it by driving to the hoop for four dunks.

"We don't believe in isolating on one person," Seman said. "The way (Fort Hill) moves the ball, there would always be an open guy."

The Rebels got help as Dyson off the bench to cover Brooks in the fourth quarter. He was held to five points and had three turnovers as South cut into the lead, but it wasn't enough.

James Brunson also came off the bench and scored 10 points.

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