North girls break Middletown jinx

February 06, 2008|By TIM KOELBLE

MIDDLETOWN, Md. -- Based on history, few would have thought North Hagerstown could get past Middletown, especially on the road.

However, the Hubs girls basketball team wrote a new chapter on Tuesday, penning a 58-49 victory on the Knights' hardwood, the first time North has been victorious at Middletown.

It was also the first time since the 1999-2000 season North had beaten Middletown -- period. It also avenged a 53-34 loss to the Knights on Dec. 20.

"We had a desire to succeed and I think it shows some of the mental toughness we've developed in the past month," said North coach Barry Brown, one night after the Hubs survived a physical battle for a come-from-behind win over Frederick.


Kirksten Mitchell displayed an ability to drive from the point and post along the baseline, scoring 12 of her 18 points in the second half when the Hubs (15-2, 5-1) played possibly their best half of basketball this season to take over first place in the MVAL Piedmont with the win.

"Considering the toughness of the opponent," we may have played our best," said Brown, who switched Mitchell to the point earlier in the year in a move that has helped lead to 11 straight wins.

"After the Frederick game, some of the girls came out a little slow and had a tough time going," said Brown, who made various substitutions early. "In the second half, we got tougher, attacked and was far more aggressive inside."

It wasn't until a 6-0 run at the end of the first half that the Hubs showed instinctive life, taking a 22-20 lead to the lockers with goals by Mitchell, Alyssa Collier and Luna Jefferson.

Middletown's (14-4, 4-1) shooting was dismal in the first half (8 of 32) but Alyssa Oursler and Kelsie House came out firing, helping Middletown to a 40-36 lead before North rallied for five points on a 3-pointer by Shuntia Hamilton and a bucket by Kishia Jackson for a 41-40 lead heading to the final eight minutes.

The fourth period belonged to North when Mitchell hit two buckets that gave the Hubs a 47-44 lead with 5:25 remaining.

"(Kirksten) is our floor general," said Brown. "She's not a one-dimensional player."

Ahead by 3, LaRae Allen got into the act with consecutive baskets, one on a baseline jumper and another off a fine feed from Jackson, giving North a 55-48 lead with 2:47 remaining.

"(North) played hard, got the loose balls and showed they really wanted this game," said Middletown coach Bill Miskell. "The game was physical, which plays into North's hand. We didn't shoot well, nobody did."

Allen added 12 points and seven rebounds for North, which shot 23 of 47 from the floor. Silva, all 5-foot-2 of her, had eight rebounds along with nine points. Mitchell also had eight rebounds.

Colleen McCarrick led Middletown with 16 points and 15 rebounds. Kelsie House had 15 and Oursler added 13.

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