While Hosby sits, 'Dogs sping past Jefferson

January 06, 2007|by JOHN O'BRIEN/Staff Correspondent

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - When Vance Hosby went out, Isaac Thornton and the rest of the Martinsburg Bulldogs went up.

Thornton and teammate Isaiah Alford combined for 18 second-quarter points and sparked a Bulldogs run that started when Jefferson's standout center left the game with three fouls Friday as Martinsburg defeated the Cougars for a second time in eight days, 61-53.

"He's big inside," said Thornton, a 6-foot sophomore who scored 27 points both Friday and in the earlier 70-62 win over Jefferson. "When he comes out, they put less pressure on defense because he's not back there. And we started playing up on our defense, in man-to-man or 2-3 (zone) because he wasn't back there for those putbacks."

Jefferson held a 25-23 lead until Hosby, who scored 21 in the first meeting but only 13 Friday, was called for his third foul. In the game's first 10 minutes, the junior had nine points on 4-of-5 shooting.


When he exited, Alford hit a floater to tie the game at 25-25. Seconds later, Thornton retied it at 28-28 with his second 3-pointer of the quarter. His third pushed the Bulldogs' lead to 33-28 and Alford scored a transition layup and free throw that made it 36-28 with less than a minute before halftime.

Meanwhile, Jefferson struggled on offense, shooting only six field-goal attempts all quarter.

"We've got our two mainstays, (Ryland) Newman and Hosby," Jefferson coach Bob Starkey said. "Without one of them in the lineup, we're hurting big time."

Hosby started the second half but was not as effective playing in foul trouble. He picked up his fourth with 1:30 left in the third period on an offensive foul and scored only four second-half points.

Starkey did not take him out, however, after seeing what Martinsburg did in the first half without Hosby playing.

"We couldn't afford to get farther and farther behind," he said.

Holding the lead proved more difficult than taking it for the Bulldogs, who led 50-44 at the end of the third quarter but only managed one fourth-quarter field goal.

Martinsburg committed eight turnovers in the fourth and shot only 1 of 6. However, Xavier Peters and Thornton combined to shoot 9 of 10 from the free throw line to hold off Jefferson, which closed to 52-51 on Newman's free throw with 3:33 remaining.

From there, Peters hit two free throws, then snatched a rebound and went the length of the floor for a layup. Thornton's two free throws two minutes later made it 57-51 with 53 seconds left.

Peters and Thornton were the only Bulldogs to score in the fourth.

"X and me are pretty good shooters," Thornton said. "When we get to the line, we're going to nail them. X gives us energy. He's the type of player that gets rebounds, goes to the hole, gets fouled and gets the crowd hyped. He's a hype-man."

Jefferson's shooting wasn't much better than Martinsburg's in the fourth, hitting 3 of 12, but Martinsburg coach Dave Rogers wasn't happy with his team's performance at the end of the game.

"That's not what you're supposed to do, is it?" Rogers said. "We got a little too cautious. We weren't doing a good job of solving their (2-3) zone. This was not a very pretty game, but we still won it."

Largely thanks to Thornton, whose 27 points came on 7-of-15 shooting. He made 4 of 5 3-pointers and 9 of 10 free throws.

Peters ended with 11 points and seven rebounds, while Alford totaled nine points and 10 rebounds. The Bulldogs shot 38 percent (20 of 53) from the floor.

In addition to Hosby's 13, Newman scored 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Dewey McDonald tallied 12 as the Cougars shot 42 percent (18 of 43).

Jefferson was outrebounded 36-23 and committed 19 turnovers.

"We just didn't play smart," Starkey said.

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