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Eagles make short work of turnover-prone Indians

February 24, 2007|by JOHN O'BRIEN / Staff Correspondent

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - Hedgesville coach Kelly Church got caught in a snowstorm on his way to scout Berkeley Springs last Saturday.

Friday night, the Indians provided an avalanche of turnovers.

Michael Lopez led three Eagles in double figures and helped cause 27 Berkeley Springs turnovers as Hedgesville claimed a 52-27 win, putting a stamp on a 17-4 regular season.

The Eagles limited the Indians (11-11) to just seven points in the first half with pressure man-to-man defense, while Lopez and J.R. Mayles provided most of the offense.

Church said he was surprised at how the game played out.

"This is the same team that beat Hampshire, the same team that beat Musselman by 18 the other night," he said. "Any team that beats those two, you certainly can't overlook. I'm pleased with our effort. I certainly didn't expect it to go that well."

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Church's drive to East Hardy High School last Saturday to watch Berkeley Springs play Keyser took more than four hours, thanks to snow. The Indians had similar offensive problems in that game, losing 62-31.

"We knew we had to shoot well coming in," Indians coach Chad Brinegar said. "We all know we didn't shoot well."

Berkeley Springs shot just 21 percent (9-for-43). Foster Sirbaugh led the team with 11 points.

The Indians managed only five points in the first quarter, falling behind, 16-5. In the second, they didn't score until Sirbaugh hit a jumper with 55 seconds remaining and trailed 26-7 at halftime.

Lopez scored 11 of his 15 points in the first half and Mayles added all 12 of his points. Only Nathan Beard, who hit a second-quarter 3-pointer 45 seconds before halftime, added additional points.

In the second half, Jordan Reed put in 11 and Denver Effland six while the Eagles emptied their bench on Senior Night.

"It's obviously nice to have the opportunity - not just for the seniors - to play that number of kids," Church said.

Hedgesville led 44-14 at the end of the third quarter and will play Jefferson on Wednesday at Martinsburg in the opening game of the sectional tournament. The winner will play Martinsburg, which earned the bye with a coin-flip win over Jefferson.

The three teams are currently ranked in the top seven in the Associated Press Class AAA poll.

"When you have three teams in the same section and all three teams have been in the top 10 almost all year ... it is what it is," Church said.

Berkeley Springs will host Frankfort on Thursday when the Class AA sectionals start. The Falcons defeated the Indians in both meetings this year.

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