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North girls win match in second set

March 25, 2007|by TIM KOELBLE

With 15 seniors on his all-star roster, North Washington County coach Barry Brown had three quintets ready to go at five-minute intervals in the first half of Saturday's girls Roundball Classic at Hagerstown Community College.

The second set proved to be valuable contributors in each half as the North contingent downed South Washington County 70-55.

North Hagerstown's 5-foot-11 Christie Beachley, seldomly used during the regular season, hit 1 of 2 free throws and then scored on a putback following a free-throw miss by North's Shawayna Morel that gave the North County team a 13-10 lead with 11:12 left in the first half, a lead it would never relinquish.

In transition, North's Valentina Wheeler scored a goal and Hancock's Kris Creek followed with a free throw and field goal and the North was on top 18-11, a lead it eventually increased to 30-19 by the half.

"That tells you what kind of team (North Hagerstown) had this year," said Brown. "(Christie) played her butt off in practice all year and she did today. Who knows, for her and some others this might be the last time they play organized basketball."

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The South County team made an early run behind Boonsboro's Jerica Hewett at the outset of the second half.

Hewett hit seven quick points in less than three minutes to help close the gap to 35-30.

But Brown made his move at the 15:02 mark to his "second Fab Five" and their defensive pressure helped lead to four South County turnovers that were converted into eight points, boosting the North back out to a 48-33 lead at the 10:02 mark.

"I wanted the girls to come out and have fun, but we were going to play with man pressure," said Brown.

"I didn't expect to be pressed in an all-star game," said Williamsport's Chris Mallott, the South County coach.

The Hancock tandem of Creek and Holley Funk used their playing time together later in the half to send the South team south.

With a 50-40 lead, Creek nailed back-to-back 3-pointers and Funk followed with a layup that jettisoned the lead to 58-40 with 4:20 remaining.

"I was really happy with how things turned out. ... I didn't really expect it," said Creek. "Playing in a game like this as a senior means a lot, and it's a good way to finish."

Their key goals came around a bevy of free-throw activity as the second half turned into a free-throw shooting contest. North went 10 of 22 in the second half, but the South team couldn't counterpunch well enough. It went to the line 40 times alone in the half, making only 20 and ending the contest overall at 23 of 44 from the stripe. There were 52 personal fouls called.

Despite playing on the losing team, Hewett was selected as the most valuable player for her 13-point effort that was accompanied with seven assists and five steals. The only negative to her performance came at the line, where she went 5 of 14.

"I was surprised but, it's a nice way to go out," said Hewett, who will attend Shepherd University in the fall.

Her Boonsboro sidekick, Alex Baker, also ended with 13 points and Janelle Fulmer added nine points.

"It was a fun game to sit back, enjoy, coach, laugh and not be so serious like you are the whole year," said Mallott. "It was good to get everyone playing time."

Brown echoed the same sentiments as the season officially closed.

"You get to coach kids that you aren't able to and I had nine other kids out here, and it was a joy," he said.

Creek and Morel each scored 11 points for the North and Wheeler hit a jackpot triple with seven points, seven rebounds and seven steals.

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