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Cougars leave Eagles gasping

February 10, 2007|by JOHN O'BRIEN / Staff Correspondent

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - Hedgesville coach Kelly Church wouldn't say that his team's five-point lead in the second quarter against Jefferson on Friday disappeared in the blink of an eye.

It was more like the spasm of a diaphragm.

"With 45 seconds left (in the first half), we're up five. I've had hiccups that lasted longer than 45 seconds," Church said following his team's 63-46 loss. "We're up five, then all of a sudden we're down three."

And Jefferson kept building on that lead, cruising to the win behind Ryland Newman's 18 points and 10 assists to lead four Cougars in double figures.

Newman sparked Jefferson's run - a 10-0 spurt over the final 2:13 - at the end of the first half with a pair of assists. It began with a pair of Vance Hosby free throws with the Cougars (12-3) down 20-13, then continued with Justin Grantham's 3-pointer with 45 seconds remaining that made it 20-18.

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After Hedgesville (15-3) turned over the ball, Newman found Gerald Stottlemyer for a layup with 30 seconds left. Instead of holding for the last shot, the Eagles misfired too quickly, allowing Newman to grab the rebound and and hit Dewey McDonald for a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 6 seconds left.

"We're an explosive team," Jefferson coach Bob Starkey said. "We hadn't even fizzled up to that time. (The run) was a positive for us, and it had to be demoralizing to them."

After the intermission, the Cougars continued to pour it on with an opening 12-4 surge that featured Newman's only 3-pointer and five points from Stottlemyer, who finished with 14.

"(The run before halftime) was really important. It gave us a big start to the second half," Stottlemyer said. "And if we didn't go on that run to start the second half, who knows what the second half could've been like? It was good to get our tempo going."

Jefferson led by 12 at the end of the third, building to the final score and its largest lead. The Cougars shot 17 of 19 from the free throw line and 40 percent (21 of 52) from the floor.

Hedgesville's standout senior Michael Lopez struggled all game, making only 3 of 18 shots for nine points. He was 3 of 16 from 3-point range, missing six straight shots on two occasions.

The Eagles shot 37 percent from the floor, including 4 of 24 from 3-point range.

"At halftime, we had some people say we needed to step up and play some defense," Stottlemyer said. "(Lopez) was getting some open looks and couldn't knock anything down. In the second half, we put a lot more pressure on him."

The Eagles were led by J.R. Mayles' 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Jordan Reed added 11, and Luke Grunseth grabbed a team-high seven rebounds as Hedgesville was outrebounded, 30-17.

Hosby scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while McDonald added 10 points and seven boards.

The Cougars committed just seven turnovers.

"We've been handling the ball real good. We'll have 12 or 13 a game, but when you play as fast as we do you're going to have some turnovers," Starkey said. "We figured it was about time to have a game where we had under 10. We didn't change anything, just took care of the ball better."

Hedgesville grabbed its second-quarter lead with a 14-7 run that featured four points from both Grunseth and Mayles.

But that was just about the last good news for the Eagles.

"They score points in bunches," Church said. "That's what they do."

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