Hubs 'push it,' Wheeler sinks it to beat Century

March 02, 2007|by CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

North Hagerstown girls basketball coach Barry Brown debated whether or not to call a timeout to draw up the potential game-winning play in the Hubs' Maryland Class 2A West semifinal game against Century.

Brown's patience paid off.

After Century's Katie Swarzmann tied the game at 47-47 with 15 seconds left, North inbounded the ball and - moments after Brown shouted 'Push it' from the bench - Veronica Wheeler got open on the left baseline to drain a 16-foot jumper and lift the Hubs to a 49-47 victory.

North (21-3) will travel to play undefeated Walkersville in the region final Saturday at 7 p.m.

"I was in between," Brown said about his decision not to call a timeout. "We broke out and, if we had any trouble at all, I was going to call one. But we had numbers and I wasn't going to stop it. And when I said, 'Push it,' the girls knew what to do."


Shawayna Morel relayed the ball to Wheeler on the fastbreak and she nailed her second field goal of the game with six seconds left.

"It was a 3-on-1 and Shawayna came down with the ball," said Wheeler, who finished with five points with six rebounds. "I didn't think Shawayna was going to pass it to me, but I have to thank her for it. Once I got it, I was real comfortable."

After the bucket, Century (16-8) called a timeout to draw up a play to tie the game or take the lead. The Knights got the ball to Nicole Ruane beyond the arc on the right baseline, but she was met by a group North defenders. As she tried to elude the Hubs for an open look, time expired.

"That was the play. We wanted to get the ball to (Ruane) or (Stefanie) McLallen - whoever was open," said Century coach Joel Beard. "(Ruane) got it, but they jumped her just enough that she couldn't get the shot off."

The timeout gave the Hubs a chance to prepare for the play.

"They had six seconds and we didn't want to let them throw anything down the court," Brown said. "We wanted to make them go 70 feet to get a shot off. They got it down the court, but we did a good job on defense without fouling."

The game was decided in the final seconds after North blew a 13-point lead in the third quarter. Wheeler intercepted a pass at mid-court and took it the distance for a layup for a 38-25 lead with 1:58 left, but Century went on a 10-0 run, spanning almost four minutes, to close the gap to 38-35.

"I'm glad we had a 13-point lead because even with it, we knew how dangerous Century was," Brown said. "We knew they wouldn't quit and it just so happened they made big run and we had to answer."

Cara Thompson kept the Hubs afloat with a pair of baskets - a leaning finger roll and a runner through the lane - for a 43-37 advantage. Century pulled to within two points twice before tying the game.

Maureen Onda scored nine of her 11 points in the fourth quarter and Ruane also scored 11.

"For the last three minutes or so, it was back and forth, shot-for-shot," Beard said. "When you lose by two points, you can say there were a lot of things that could have made a difference. But it's that way for both teams."

Through the first quarter, Century appeared to have the upper hand as it forced seven turnovers and took a 12-4 lead. The Hubs finally got their act together early in the second period and scored nine straight points for their first lead of the game at 15-14 with 5:25 remaining.

Century regained the lead twice before North closed the half with a pair of free throws by Valentina Wheeler and a 3-pointer by Kirkston Mitchell to take a 25-23 lead into halftime.

Mitchell had eight points and seven rebounds for the Hubs. Cara Thompson had a team-high 11 points and Larae Allen had nine to go with nine rebounds.

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