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Hubs' Wheeler dunks on Clear Spring

January 17, 2007|by CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

CLEAR SPRING - North Hagerstown's Tyrone Wheeler has been able to dunk the basketball for almost five years.

But the Hubs senior waited until Tuesday night to finally showcase it in a game.

With just over a minute left in the first half, Wheeler intercepted a pass at midcourt and threw it down for the first time as a Hub for two of his game-high 20 points, leading North to an 80-56 MVAL Antietam win.

Wheeler converted the dunk after being fouled on one by Kyle Crist earlier in the second quarter.

"I was a little scared. I'm a little person and I don't want to get undercut by someone trying to stop me," the 6-foot Wheeler said. "I've been able to do it since eighth or ninth grade, but this is the first time in a game."

Both of Wheeler's dunk attempts came off Clear Spring turnovers, which were plenty. North pressured the Blazers into 32 turnovers, using man defense with a half-court trap - and sometimes full-court pressure.

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Diez Johnson had six steals, Wheeler had five and Ray Hoy had three.

"Everybody stepped their intensity up," said Wheeler, who added eight rebounds and four assists. "We tried to man up 70 percent of the court, and they didn't look like they could handle it."

The Hubs' defensive quickness contained Clear Spring 6-1 forwards Brett Turner and Tyler Shifler, holding them to 21 points.

"We were concerned about their size - we're concerned about any team's size," said North coach Tim McNamee. "We wanted to try and take them out of the game or neutralize them by getting out and running."

North's defense allowed the Hubs to get comfortable in transition, opening up the floor for their scorers. North had four different players score in double figures - Wheeler, Johnson (16), Hoy (10) and James Jackson (10).

When the Hubs set up the offense, they had plenty of options to go to as 10 players scored.

"I wanted to get the rock to our big men inside," Wheeler said. "Then, when (Clear Spring) went low, we could bring it back out and work the perimeter."

Freddie Matthews scored all nine of his points in the first half as North took a 41-28 lead. The Hubs (4-7, 3-1) forced 10 turnovers in the third quarter as they opened the lead up to as many as 23 points.

"Our game plan was to go to our big guys (Turner and Shifler), but for your game plan to work, you have to be able to get under control," said Clear Spring coach Mark Shives. "North is going to play pressure and they have a lot of athletes. Pressure has killed us all year."

Clear Spring (3-7, 0-5) used some of its own pressure and managed to cut the lead to 12 with a minute left in the third quarter. The Blazers forced seven turnovers in the period - four in a 30-second span - as they cut the lead to 54-42.

But the Hubs got composed and closed the quarter with two baskets by Hoy and the Blazers never threatened again.

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