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Hubs too quick for Leopards

January 03, 2007|by CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

Team quickness has been a hallmark of North Hagerstown boys basketball for years, and with their lack of size this season, the Hubs' quickness is even more important to their success.

The Hubs were quick enough Tuesday night, as Tyrone Wheeler's 25 points sparked North to a 53-43 win over Smithsburg in the MVAL Antietam opener for both teams.

"We have to play quick to win," said Hubs coach Tim McNamee. "We don't want to get into one of those methodical games. We really have to get after people better than we are. We're playing like we're afraid to make mistakes."

Trailing by four entering the second period, North (2-6, 1-0) held the Leopards (1-7, 0-1) scoreless in the final 3 minutes, 46 seconds of the half to turn a 20-17 deficit into a 25-20 advantage.

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"We just got out of rhythm in the second quarter," said Smithsburg coach Eric Gerber. "(North) went to their 1-3-1 a little bit, and we have some problems with that."

In the first period, the Leopards managed to push the ball inside with relative ease, scoring 10 points in the paint and hitting 6 of 7 shots.

But things changed dramatically in the second quarter, as the Leopards sank just 3 of 14 attempts from the floor.

"With our size, we had to make some adjustments," said McNamee. "They hurt us inside, so we had to change up our defenses, and I think that made them uncomfortable. That might have been the difference in the game."

The Hubs expanded their lead to 31-22 in the first 90 seconds of the third period, and took a six-point edge into the final eight minutes.

Three Jon Reid buckets and a Josh Edwards 3-pointer trimmed the gap to 46-42, but a Deon Everett tip-in, a Marcellus Sumlin layup and a Diez Johnson 3 pushed the lead back to 10.

"We had some breakdowns defensively, and they took advantage," said Gerber. "We just had some lapses where we left their shooters open, and they shot the ball well."

North hit 23 of 44 shots from the floor (52 percent).

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