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North pays back Liberty

February 22, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

All it would take for most people is one glance at records and results to realize North Hagerstown's boys basketball team was a sizable underdog against Liberty on Thursday night.

The Hubs didn't see it that way.

Bryan Calendine hit the winning jumper with 2 seconds left in overtime to lift the Hubs to a 67-65 victory against the Lions, avenging an 81-60 loss at Liberty on Jan. 4.

It was only the sixth win for North and the first against a team outside of Washington County.

"(Liberty) might see it as an upset. In our eyes it wasn't," said Hubs coach Kevin Hartman. "With their size, they're a team we can match up with pretty well. They can't just pound it low and control the pace."

With the game tied at 65, Anthony Lee drove through the lane and dished to an open Calendine for a 10-footer on the right baseline to give North (6-15) the lead.

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Liberty called a timeout with 0.8 seconds remaining, but the officials put 2 seconds on the clock. Still, the Lions (11-7) had to rush their shot and Ryan Miller's half-court heave was too strong.

Lee finished with just three assists, but none was bigger than the last.

"I just penetrated and tried to get one good look," said Lee, who also scored 11 points and made four steals. "That was Bryan's shot. I knew they were looking to guard (Allen) Sandberg so I was looking to get it down low."

Calendine had 10 points, while Sandberg had the hot hand for the Hubs and scored a game-high 19. Regarded by many as a perimeter specialist, Sandberg showed versatility and scored 10 points inside the paint.

The Hubs junior picked up his fourth foul with 1:04 left in the third quarter, but returned after little more than two minutes on the bench. He was fouled while making a 15-footer from the left wing and hit the free throw to give the Hubs a 65-63 lead with 45 seconds left.

"A lot of teams realize he can shoot the 3, and that's allowed him to fake his shot and create a lane or pass the ball," Hartman said. "I was pleased with the entire team effort. All 11 guys contributed and, being in foul trouble, we needed other people to step up."

Alec Nelson scored eight points off the bench and saw extended action in place of Joe Mattei (12 points) and Brent Bell, both of whom had four fouls entering the fourth quarter.

Bell, who leads the team in scoring, picked up two fouls in the first 2:12 of the game and fouled out with just under three minutes left in overtime. North put Liberty in the double bonus late in the third quarter and the Lions hit all 16 shots from the charity stripe in regulation.

"We were both in the double bonus, so for that clock to stop in the fourth quarter, and both teams to be shooting free throws, we're not in the best shape," Hartman said.

North hit just 8 of 17 free throws in the second half and overtime. Liberty trailed 37-24 early in the third quarter but used a 10-0 run to take a 55-50 lead with 5:50 left in regulation. After a timeout, North reeled off five straight points - Lee made a pair of leaping steals - and the Hubs knotted the game at 55 with 4:25 left.

The game was tied four more times the rest of the way - each team had a possession to win in regulation with the game knotted at 61 - before Calendine's clinching shot in overtime.

Zach Sleight led Liberty with 17 points, Colton Weaver had 13, Dan Martinez had 12 and Ryan Miller added 11.

The Hubs are scheduled to host Thomas Johnson tonight. Should the game be cancelled due to inclement weather, it will be made up Wednesday.

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