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Hubs split with a crush

February 07, 2007|by DAN KAUFFMAN

When the No. 4 Boonsboro girls basketball team upset No. 1 North Hagerstown 64-62 on Jan. 13, Alex Baker scored 26 points and Jerica Hewett added 22 for the Warriors.

On Tuesday, the Hubs got revenge on their home court by clamping down on the Warriors' two stars - and everyone else, for that matter.

Displaying a stifling defense that held Hewett to eight points and Baker to three, North took a major step toward winning the MVAL Antietam title by holding Boonsboro to 10-for-58 shooting - and blocking or altering several of the misses - in a 60-31 victory that was every bit as lopsided as the final score.

"If you've been watching us the last couple of weeks, you've seen we've elevated our defensive intensity, and our positioning on the floor is much better," Hubs coach Barry Brown said. "They don't quit on any play. Every play is all-out effort, and that's what it has to be against a team like Boonsboro and any team we play in the playoffs."

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North (15-2, 9-1) put Boonsboro (10-4, 7-2) in the rear-view mirror with a 21-0 run across the second and third quarters, holding the Warriors scoreless for more than eight minutes to build a 36-14 lead.

"It was a good first 12 minutes (for us), and then they went on their run and we didn't have the cure for it," Boonsboro coach Max Shaffer said. "They came out and wanted it more than we did. I knew home court made a difference, but I didn't know it was that big."

The Hubs' offensive diversity was almost as impressive as its defensive intensity. Eight players scored for North - and had all done so by halftime - and five scored at least eight points.

Valentina Wheeler - who was largely responsible for harassing Hewett on defense - led the Hubs on offense with 14 points and added six steals and four rebounds. Larae Allen had 12 points, five rebounds and three blocks, Cara Thompson had nine points, 10 rebounds and six assists, Kirksten Mitchell had nine points, 10 rebounds and four assists, and Shawayna Morel added eight points. Thompson also helped shut down Baker on defense.

Josh Miller's rebound and putback with 26 seconds left proved to be the difference for Boonsboro's boys in a 48-46 victory over North that was dampened by a scary injury to Warriors senior Brad Rohrer.

With four minutes left and the Hubs up 42-41, Rohrer battled Hubs center Deon Everett for a rebound, and came down hard. He stayed motionless on the court for about 20 minutes while paramedics were called to the gym, and was taken out on a stretcher with his head and neck immobilized.

"When I got out on the court, he couldn't feel anything below his waist and his heart was beating out of his chest," Boonsboro coach Sam Connelly said. "That's why we called 911 right away. When he settled down, he started to talk a little more, and he said he was starting to feel a little more in his legs. ... There's nothing scarier as a coach than to hear a player say he can't feel his legs."

To their credit, the Warriors were able to keep their focus well enough to earn a tough victory.

Mike DeBarge hit a 3-pointer with 2:54 left to give Boonsboro (9-7, 6-3) a 44-43 lead.

Tyrone Wheeler answered for North (6-11, 5-5) by slicing down the lane for a score with 2:05 left, and he made 1 of 2 free throws 25 seconds later to give the Hubs a 46-44 lead.

Warrior Kyle Kane made 1 of 2 free throws with 54 seconds left to cut the lead to one, and after North turned the ball over with 48 seconds left, Adam Flook worked himself free for a 16-foot jumper from the top of the key. The shot bounced off the rim, but Miller was there to put it back up and in for a 47-46 lead.

Hubs coach Tim McNamee initially let play continue, but called a timeout with nine seconds left when North dribbled into a trap. Out of the timeout, Wheeler got the ball and attempted to drive from the left wing into the lane, but DeBarge stripped the ball away with five seconds left and was fouled with two seconds left.

"Mike played a great game," said Connelly. "Tyrone Wheeler is a great talent, and he made a move and Mike just took it out of his hands."

DeBarge made the first free throw, then intentionally missed the second, and North called timeout with one second left. The Hubs threw the inbounds pass 10 feet past halfcourt, where a Warrior tipped the ball away and time ran out before a North player could get to it.

Flook led all players with 21 points on the strength of four 3-pointers. DeBarge finished with 11. Wheeler led the Hubs with 17 points and Richie Baymon added 12.

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