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Little touches big for Cougars

January 13, 2007|by TIM KOELBLE

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - Jefferson sophomore Dewey McDonald scored 11 points, but it was two rebounds he collared in the final 41 seconds of Friday's intense battle against Hedgesville that stands out in his performance.

After three rapid-fire periods after which Jefferson held a 30-29 lead, the No. 6 Cougars had the better end of a free-throw display, both in scoring and rebounding, to knock off the previously unbeaten and No. 2 Eagles, 50-46.

Jefferson rebounded from back-to-back Friday losses to Martinsburg to get back into the win column.

"I'm not ashamed of the losses (to Martinsburg), said Jefferson coach Bob Starkey. "We prepared well for this game and we've got plenty of time left in the season."

The Cougars (5-2) raced to a 41-34 lead on a pair of free throws by Ryland Newman and a bucket by McDonald with 2:35 remaining.

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However, the Eagles weren't going away quickly as Michael Lopez drained a 3-pointer with 45 seconds remaining to cut Jefferson's lead to 44-41.

Gerald Stottlemyre, who hit three 3-pointers in the game, missed two free throws for the Cougars with 41 seconds left.

McDonald slashed into the lane for the rebound. Subsequently, John Smallwood sank 1 of 2 freebies with 29 seconds left, making it a two-possession game at 45-41.

Lopez hit a 3-pointer for the Eagles with 4.8 seconds left to get Hedgesville back within 48-46, and Jefferson's Marquis Jones was promptly fouled on the inbounds play. He converted the first, missed the second and McDonald repeated his rebound effort to keep the ball away from the Eagles.

"I'm just going straight for the basketball," said McDonald, who plays bigger than his 6-foot-1 stature. "I'm going to hustle for rebounds."

"(McDonald) had real big boards ... he is a slasher and not only do we expect, but he expects to get those mid-range rebounds," said Starkey."

Jefferson received scoring from nine players, and Starkey was pleased with the efforts off the bench from John Smallwood and Tim Fisher.

"Smallwood was horrible as a JV player, but he has kept working and working and become an important cog for us," said Starkey. "And, Fisher gave us good defense."

Hedgesville (8-1) had free-throw opportunities in the last eight minutes but shot 5 of 11 from the line, including 3 of 8 from Luke Grunseth, who had eight points and 11 rebounds for the Eagles.

"Those (missed free throws) are mental mistakes," said Hedgesville coach Kelly Church. "We had more turnovers (16) than usual and those are mental mistakes.

"I think part of our performance tonight is attributed to Jefferson, and we tried to do the best we could to handle their quickness and ability," Church said.

J.R. Mayles had 14 points to lead Hedgesville, including nine of the Eagles' 10 third-period points to keep his team in the game. Lopez, 3 of 11 from beyond the arc, ended with 10 points.

Hosby and Huey Land each added eight points for Jefferson, and Hosby pulled down 15 rebounds.

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