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Defying description

Knights leave Hubs with nothing to say

Knights leave Hubs with nothing to say

February 06, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER/Staff Correspondent

Many words could describe the North Hagerstown boys basketball team Tuesday night against Middletown.

Patient. Resilient. Combative. Careful.

But in the end, none of the virtues was enough to erase the word that ultimately portrayed the win the Hubs seeked -- evasive.

North battled from six double-digit deficits and gave Middletown all it could handle before falling 56-48 in MVAL Piedmont action.

"I've said it all year, we scrap," said Hubs coach Kevin Hartman. "We just had a some good looks that just didn't drop. If we hit a couple of those shots and make a steal or two, we might get this one."

North (4-12, 1-5) trailed by as many as 13 points before Allen Sandberg hit his third 3-pointer to cut the score to 37-27 with 2:48 left in the third quarter. The Hubs used a 6-0 run to close the gap to 39-35 early in the fourth quarter and Brent Bell's putback made it 44-41 with 2:14 left. But it got no closer as Middletown hit 10 of its last 12 free throws to seal the win.

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"Our guards did a good job of making their free throws when it counted," said Middletown coach Jon Jarrett. "Give North credit, even when they got down they always came right back. Anytime we can go out and get a conference win on the road, we'll take it."

Middletown (13-4, 5-0) had the clear size advantage and made the most of it with a 28-12 rebounding edge. The Knights had as many offensive rebounds as the Hubs totaled and Winston Towns had a team-high 12 boards. Towns also led the way with 12 points, while Michael Ousler and Austin Wilson each had 11 and Woody Butler scored 10.

"There was a lot talked in game-planning about getting on the boards," Jarrett said. "We didn't shoot particularly well from the outside, so it became even more important."

The Knights opened the game with a 10-0 run and led 26-16 with 1:19 left in the first half. But the Hubs answered as Sandberg hit a pair of 3s to pull the score to 28-22 at halftime.

Middletown went on a 9-2 spurt to open the second half, but the Knights hadn't sustained their last threat.

"We absolutely wanted to keep the momentum," Hartman said. "Of course, they came out and hit two quick baskets, so it didn't happen. But the boys didn't give up and kept fighting until the end."

The lead dropped to 44-39 with about five minutes left when the Knights opted to hold the ball on the perimeter without being tested by the Hubs. About 90 seconds went by before North attacked the ball.

"They were in a zone and we weren't attacking it very well," Jarrett said. "We were going to make them come and play defense."

The stall in action allowed North to catch its breath and when the Hubs finally applied pressure, it resulted in a turnover. Middletown had five of its 12 turnovers in the fourth quarter to help North close the deficit to one possession, but the Knights got composed to salt the game away down the stretch.

Bell led all scorers with 21 points, Sandberg added 12 and Bryan Calendine posted 10. Bell, Joe Mattei and Anthony Lee accounted for all the boards with four each for the Hubs, who committed only eight turnovers.

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