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Bulldogs, Cougars set for 'track meet' tonight

December 29, 2007|By JOHN O'BRIEN

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The first night of the four-team Martinsburg Invitational basketball tournament could not be classified as dramatic.

Friday's winners, though, will likely change that tonight.

Martinsburg and Jefferson will get an early-season renewal of their rivalry tonight when the two sectional opponents will play in the championship game after posting wins by comfortable margins Friday.

The Bulldogs built a 20-point lead and eventually defeated Preston (W.Va.) 61-50 after undefeated Jefferson crushed Carvers Bay (S.C.) 90-43.

Tyler Hester had 20 points and nine rebounds for the Cougars, and big man Vance Hosby added 18 points and 13 rebounds. Neither played much in the fourth quarter.

"The big key here is Hosby," Martinsburg coach Dave Rogers said. "Can you stop him, hold him down?"

Rogers is most concerned with Jefferson's frontcourt, which helped the Cougars outrebound the Bears 41-17. They grabbed 23 offensive rebounds.

"I think we have to stop the inside game," Rogers said. "You can't give up easy buckets like we did tonight. They like to run, we like to run. Maybe it will be a track meet."

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Both teams should be plenty rested. Jefferson led by 17 at halftime and 24 after three quarters against Carvers Bay (3-8). The game was tied at 7-7 before Jefferson scored 19 of the next 21 points.

Dewey McDonald and reserves D.J. Upson and Nick Zbikowski each scored 10 points as the Cougars (5-0) shot 44 percent (41-for-94).

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs (4-1) had a more difficult time with the Knights (4-2) but still barely broke a sweat. Rogers even admitted his team was trying out a zone with which it did not have much experience.

Tyler Thompson (17 points) helped Preston start hot, and his free throws gave it an 11-7 lead with 2:30 remaining in the first quarter. Cameron Cato responded with a pair of buckets, starting an 18-4 run that put the Bulldogs up 10 points. Cato capped the spurt with a 3-pointer.

Preston made it 29-24 just after halftime, but Tevin Walker took over the rest of the quarter. He scored 14 points on 4-of-4 shooting, including two 3-pointers.

Rogers was upset with his team's fourth-quarter performance. Preston outscored Martinsburg 15-7 in the final quarter by essentially watching the Bulldogs take quick shots or turn the ball over.

"We made some decisions that middle school basketball players would make," Rogers said. "When you get a lead in the game, you don't do the things you're not supposed to - that's not what life's about, and that's not what basketball's about. You have to do what you're supposed to."

Walker led the Bulldogs with 18 points, while Michael Cole added 10 points and eight rebounds. Cato had nine points and Brandon Cato and Isaac Thornton each had eight.

Thompson made just 3 of his 11 3-point attempts, and Steven Groves pitched in 11 points for Preston.

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