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Beating 'Dogs a welcome distraction for Stottlemyer

January 27, 2007|by JOHN O'BRIEN / Staff Correspondent

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - No matter how bad a day he's having - and Friday turned out to be a very bad day for Gerald Stottlemyer - he can always count on watching the ball go through the hoop to make him feel a little better.

So on the day he most needed to be cheered up, the Jefferson senior forward made more shots than he ever had.

Stottlemyer scored a career-high 17 points in only three quarters while helping No. 3 Jefferson to a 72-58 win over No. 4 Martinsburg on Friday, the four-year anniversary of the day his father Kevin passed away.

Friday morning, Stottlemyer's brother, Kevin Jr., was shot in an incident in Winchester, Va., and is now paralyzed from the waist down.

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Stottlemyer, nicknamed "Bubby," said not playing wasn't an option.

"I just put it behind me. I had some fans who told me not to worry about it," he said. "I felt the team needed me to step up and help Vance (Hosby) and Dewey (McDonald) and the rest of the team so we could pull it out."

Stottlemyer, who made 4 of 5 3-point attempts and 6 of 9 shots overall, said he hadn't even told many of his teammates what he was going through. Even coach Bob Starkey was unaware of Stottlemyer's whole story, but was happy with his performance.

"He was our best JV player two years ago," said Starkey, whose team improved to 9-3 and has won five of its last six games since losing consecutive matchups with rival Martinsburg. "He didn't play last year, but he hit some big 3s tonight, didn't he?"

Two of them came in the first quarter as Jefferson raced to a 21-15 lead. Hosby added eight of his 22 points and four of his 14 rebounds in the quarter.

Stottlemyer hit a 3-pointer with 2 seconds left in the first half just after Martinsburg (8-4) had cut its deficit to 38-35, the first time it had been that close in almost 11 minutes.

In the third quarter, Stottlemyer registered a three-point play that increased the lead to 49-41, then added five more points in the quarter. His 3-pointer with 2:33 remaining pushed the lead to 58-43, and he barely played in the fourth quarter.

"It's sort of a big-brother, little-brother syndrome," Martinsburg coach Dave Rogers said. "We were going to put a lot of attention on Hosby, and Ryland (Newman) and even Dewey, and we couldn't get out and cover (Stottlemyer)."

Newman had 11 points and McDonald seven, including a second-quarter dunk. The Cougars shot 49 percent (32 of 65) to the Bulldogs' 40 percent (23 of 57).

"Our defense was consistent. We played good defense," Starkey said. "When they'd make a run, our defense could get a stop and then we'd find Vance or one of the other guys who can make a shot.

"Our defense was excellent throughout the game."

The outcome gave each team a 2-1 sectional record and evened the race for the playoff bye. The first game between the two, played during a holiday tournament, did not count toward the sectional standings.

Each team has a game against Hedgesville left. The 9-2 Eagles have only lost to their sectional opponents.

"It doesn't get any easier, does it?" Rogers said.

Martinsburg has 10 of its next 11 games on the road, too. Isaiah Alford was the Bulldogs' standout performer Friday night, putting in 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting and adding 10 rebounds while his teammates struggled. Leading scorer Isaac Thornton, who had 26 in each of the two earlier games against Jefferson, managed 15 on 7-of-18 shooting. He made only 1 of 8 3-point attempts.

Stottlemyer, himself, had more 3-point makes than the entire Martinsburg team. He's hoping that the memory of his performance will provide a bright spot on future Jan. 26s.

"It felt good," he said. "It felt real good."

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