Hosby puts a hurtin' on Cougars' foes

February 02, 2007|by DAN KAUFFMAN

Over the last three weeks, no Tri-State area boys basketball player has been better than Jefferson junior Vance Hosby.

The Cougars' 6-foot-6 center has left opponents in his wake ever since he jump-started his recent surge with a 47-point, 15-rebound destruction of Brooke on Jan. 13.

Hosby's last five games haven't been too shabby, either:

· 19 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocks in an 82-72 victory over Urbana on Jan. 17.

· 32 points and 11 rebounds in a 73-68 loss to Millbrook on Jan. 20.

· 30 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks in an 82-57 victory over Glenelg on Jan. 23.

· 22 points and 14 rebounds in a 72-58 victory over Eastern Panhandle rival Martinsburg one week ago, helping avenge two previous losses to the Bulldogs this season.

· Finally, 20 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks in Tuesday's 81-39 win over Hampshire.

In all, Hosby has averaged 28.3 points and 14.7 rebounds over the last six games.


"He's always been pretty solid, and we've been playing some pretty good teams, too," Jefferson coach Bob Starkey said. "He's just coming along."

The recent hot streak has vaulted Hosby into the Tri-State lead in scoring (22.3 points per game), rebounding (12.2 per game) and blocked shots (3.2 per game). He has made 128 of 190 shots this season (67.4 percent).

Part of Hosby's recent success lies in his staying out of foul trouble, which plagued him at times early this season.

"He tries to block a few too many shots as our last line of defense, so he has been in foul trouble a lot," Starkey said. "But he's relaxed more and hasn't been in foul trouble as much recently. I think we're looking for him more often."

Hosby is complemented by point guard Ryland Newman, who averages 12.5 points, an area-best 8.4 assists and 3.1 steals per game.

"Ryland's our floor general and we ask a lot of him," Starkey said. "He always guards the other team's point guard or quickest man, plus he does the ball hand-ling and we expect him to score. Vance is a pretty big target, so they complement one another."

Devils wrap up spot

With their 59-52 victory over Scotland on Thursday, Greencastle's boys wrapped up second place in the Mid-Penn Capital and a spot in the Mid-Penn Tournament.

The Blue Devils were finalists in the tournament last year before reaching the PIAA District 3-AAA championship game. They'll have the opportunity to duplicate those feats, but coach Garon Gembe said Thursday's victory was more important for another reason.

"I think we needed this win more so to get our confidence back than for the opportunity to go play in the Mid-Penn Tournament, which is a great honor and privilege and we're happy to represent the Capital division," Gembe said. "But (Monday's 68-57 loss to Waynesboro) was a tough loss, and we needed to rebound, get some confidence back and maybe prove to ourselves that we can win big games even without Dameatric (Scott). Hopefully we'll have him back for the Mid-Penn and districts, but we needed to prove to ourselves that we could win big games, and tonight was a big game."

Scott served the second game of a three-game academic suspension Thursday.

Greencastle will play the Keystone champion - which will most likely be Red Land (16-4) - in the opening round of the Mid-Penn Tournament.

"Defense always wins games and wins championships, and we need to continue to play real good defense and finish it off with rebounding," Gembe said. "But more than anything, we really need to start shooting the ball better. I just think right now we're not shooting the ball quite as well as we're capable of. But we still understand defense wins games."

Wheeler develops a flat

North Hagerstown's boys will have to live with uncertainty over the condition of leading scorer and rebounder Tyrone Wheeler, who suffered a high ankle sprain in the opening minutes against South Hagerstown on Jan. 22.

Wheeler went on to score 21 points and pull down nine rebounds in a 61-56 loss to the Rebels, but three days later could manage only six points in a 55-44 loss to Smithsburg before sitting out the second half. He missed Tuesday's game against Brunswick, a 76-50 Hubs setback.

"The X-rays were negative. It stayed swollen for quite a while. He's still not 100 percent," North coach Tim McNamee said. "He's questionable for (Friday). He's the type of player who's quick off his feet and a leaper, and an ankle injury really affects his style of play."

Wheeler is averaging 15.6 points and 7.4 rebounds per game for the Hubs.

"He's been our leader and we look to him to score and rebound," McNamee said. "He's our go-to guy, but we struggle to score anyway, so without him, we're really hurting. We'll try to struggle through it."

McIntire making point

As a freshman last season, Heritage Academy girls point guard Morgan McIntire earned Herald-Mail All-Area Second Team honors for averaging 17.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.2 steals per game.

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