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Middletown takes North's identity, game as Hubs forget their style of play

Middletown takes North's identity, game as Hubs forget their style of play

February 22, 2007|by TIM KOELBLE

North Hagerstown will begin its foray into the Maryland Class 2A tournament next week knowing it will have to do what it didn't get accomplished on Wednesday night.

Against Middletown, which will also be in the 2A mix, North did not display its usual aggressive style of play.

The consequence was a 55-45 loss to Middletown (16-5) in the regular-season finale as the No. 1 Hubs (19-3) had their 11-game win streak snapped.

"We were very passive on offense and had no pressure on defense and you won't beat a team like Middletown playing that way," said North coach Barry Brown. "(Middletown) played the way we typically play."

North was guilty of nine turnovers in the first period that resulted in 10 Middletown points.

"I can't explain it. We had no energy. We were just so flat coming out," said Brown.

Still, the Hubs were deadlocked at 18-18 after a Cara Thompson three-point play at 3:28 of the second period. But North fell behind 25-21 at the half.

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North remained in position to extract victory from the Knights, even though it was down 36-33 entering the fourth period.

Larae Allen hit one of two free throws and Valentina Wheeler converted on steal for a bucket to tie the score 38-38 with 5:50 remaining.

"We had a point of getting some aggressiveness to get back in the game to tie it up," said Brown.

Middletown, after a timeout, responded with authority as it took advantage of two North turnovers and three missed shots to author a 47-38 lead with 3:10 remaining.

Colleen McCarrick, who led Middletown with 15 points, hit a pair of goals as did Kristen Bauk during the run.

"We knew Colleen was quicker than whoever (North) put on her to guard," said Middletown coach Bill Miskell. "We wanted to take advantage and get her to the basket."

After Veronica Wheeler hit a 3-pointer to move North within 49-43, Middletown hit six free throws down the stretch to seal the verdict.

After a fourth game in six days, North takes a short break in the schedule while awaiting the Francis Scott Key-Clarksburg winner in its tournament debut next week.

"(The loss) and the way we played showed us there's still a lot of work to do to get ready for the tournament," said Brown. "The real season starts now and we have to get back to playing our kind of ball."

Kirksten Mitchell led the Hubs with 13 points. North shot 17 of 43 from the field for 39.5 percent and ended with 21 turnovers.

McCarrick, a junior, hit 7 of 14 from the field to lead the Knights and Bauk had 10. McCarrick also had a game-high 10 rebounds.

"(Barry) has a very good team at North and we had been struggling lately," said Miskell. "Tonight, we wanted to put a seed in their head and let them know we can play with them."

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