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Warriors rally from 9 down to shock No. 1 Hubs

January 14, 2007|by TIM KOELBLE

BOONSBORO - Time for a clich.

Saturday afternoon's girls contest between Boonsboro and No. 1 North Hagerstown had all the intensity of a playoff game.

Both teams put forth a great deal of grit and determination, but only one could win - that's just the way it happens.

Boonsboro rallied from a 47-38 deficit with a behemoth fourth quarter to stun the Hubs 64-62 in an MVAL Antietam classic.

Alex Baker scored 26 points, including two critical 3-pointers in the fourth period. Jerica Hewett tallied 22 points, including 12 in the decisive period, in which she went 6-for-6 at the foul line.

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"The win shows that we are back and ready to go the rest of the season," said Hewett, who was knocked out action for two minutes in the second quarter when she slightly hyperextended her right knee.

After writhing in pain, Hewett returned and played aggressively, whereas North (8-2, 2-1) was hampered by the loss of senior Cara Thompson to a sprained ankle with 2:21 left in the first half.

"If I'm OK, I'm going back in," said Hewett, who now has 981 career points. "I'll take my chances. It was a big comeback."

"If this were a state championship game, I'd have wrapped (Cara) up and she would have been back in," said Hubs coach Barry Brown, who said X-rays would be taken. "I wasn't going to chance the rest of the season playing her."

Even with Thompson on the sideline, the Hubs took a 32-28 halftime lead and carried the momentum of Veronica Wheeler's 3-pointer at the buzzer into the third period.

The Hubs dominated the period, especially on the offensive glass, and opened up a 45-38 lead on back-to-back hoops by Kishia Jackson and Kirksten Mitchell, who also scored to start the fourth quarter to give the Hubs their nine-point bulge.

"We didn't manage the end of the game as well as we should have," said Brown.

Boonsboro forced three critical turnovers down the stretch, and in each instance the Warriors converted.

Hewett hit two free throws and Baker fired in a 3 from the right wing with 5:10 to play.

After two North misses, Amy Rhoderick missed the front end of a 1-and-1, but Jamie Bingaman managed to get one of Boonsboro's few offensive rebounds and dished off to Rhoderick, who scored to put the Warriors ahead 50-49 with 4:43 to go.

Boonsboro never trailed the rest of the way. Rhoderick's three-point play off an offensive rebound of a Baker miss made it 53-49 and gave the Warriors all the momentum.

"I thought that play by Rhoderick was the turning point in the game," said Boonsboro coach Max Shaffer.

The Hubs got baskets by Veronica Wheeler and Mitchell to tie the game at 59 with 1:35 left before Rhoderick hit 1 of 2 free throws.

North missed its next four shots, while Boonsboro extended the lead. Bingaman scored, Baker rebounded a miss by Mitchell and Hewett hit two free throws with 18 seconds left.

Mitchell, a 5-foot-9 sophomore who became North's offensive leader in the absence of Thompson, finished the scoring with a trey at the buzzer to finish off a 25-point performance on 11 of 22 shooting, but it wasn't enough for the Hubs.

"Kirksten had a breakthrough game," Brown said. "She's got flat-out talent. She knew herself she had to step up when Cara went down."

Baker hit 10 of 27 shots from the floor as the Warriors connected on 23 of 53 from the field, compared to 25 of 74 for North.

"Our last couple of games, we just weren't ourselves," said Shaffer. "We really played to win today. We shouldn't have lost (to Williamsport). This was a big win."

The taller Hubs controlled the boards 45-31, including a 23-7 margin on the offensive glass. Hewett had 11 rebounds for Boonsboro and Mitchell had nine for North.

"Our kids have worked so hard and up to the point when Cara got hurt, I thought it was our game," said Brown. "We lost our floor leader and that hurt our depth. We were aggressive on the boards."

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