Cougars make late run, hold off fiery Eagles

March 01, 2007|by TIM KOELBLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Jefferson and Hedgesville went at one another just as expected for 32 minutes - at full throttle.

It wasn't about to be any other way in the West Virginia Class AAA Region II Section 2 boys basketball semifinal Wednesday night at Martinsburg High School.

After 21 lead changes and five ties, the smoke had cleared in Jefferson's favor as the Cougars celebrated a continuance to their season with a 60-58 victory over Hedgesville.

Jefferson (17-4) - ranked third in West Virginia Class AAA, the highest ranking ever by a Jefferson County basketball team - will play Martinsburg on Friday at Hedgesville for the section title. It will be the fourth meeting between the two schools this year.


"We fought and scraped and chiseled it out on our own," said Jefferson coach Bob Starkey.

The Cougars bested Hedgesville (17-5) for the third time on the strength of an 11-0 run in the fourth period that produced an eight-point lead at 56-48 with 1:45 left.

Troy Danno started the run with a jumper and Vance Hosby had three points, three rebounds and a big assist during the run.

Hedgesville began sending Jefferson to the line in 1-and-1 situations and was nearly able to take advantage of poor free-throw shooting as Jefferson's Dewey McDonald and Ryland Newman combined to hit only 2 of 5 down the stretch. Twice Michael Lopez followed with 3-pointers that sliced the Cougars' lead to 60-58 with 2.5 seconds left.

McDonald was again fouled on an inbounds play, and in the double-bonus, missed both ends, but he hustled for the rebound on the second shot which prevented Hedgesville from rushing the other way.

"In a short span (Jefferson's run), we had two turnovers and two ill-advised shots, and that was the difference in the game," said Hedgesville coach Kelly Church.

Starkey said his team, which averages an area-leading 72 points per game, won the game with defense.

"I thought we had a gutsy defensive game, and Hosby did a great job on the boards," he said.

The 6-foot-6 senior center muscled his way to 20 points and 21 rebounds. He had 15 points in the first half and, after an obscure third quarter, finished with five in the decisive fourth quarter. He was 8 of 12 from the floor.

"We moved (Hosby) up further in the paint to get him the ball earlier," said Starkey, and Hosby agreed that it made a difference.

"That was a big move because it helped me find some gaps," said Hosby, following his most crucial performance of the season.

Jefferson also received a solid performance from Justin Grantham, who tallied 14 points, including six during crunch time.

"There were times (tonight) when Grantham really propelled us," said Starkey, also satisfied with the effort received from Danno, who supplied a pair of goals in the fourth quarter.

"We end our season with a lot of 'if this didn't happen, or if this happened,'" said Church. "We didn't show up the first two times we lost (to Jefferson), but tonight we did. We didn't play a perfect game against a very talented team but we played well.

"Hosby ... he's a man, a huge man."

The Eagles hoisted 20 3-pointers, with Lopez knocking down 5 of 12 on the way to a 25-point performance. J.R. Mayles added 12 points. Overall, the Eagles shot 44 percent from the floor.

Jefferson, which shot 42 percent, controlled the boards 38-27, and each team was effective handling the rock. Jefferson had only eight turnovers, while Hedgesville had nine.

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