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North girls dominate Williamsport

December 13, 2008|By Chris Carter

WILLIAMSPORT - Williamsport girls basketball coach Chris Malott saw enough Friday night against North Hagerstown to make a couple of bold predictions.

"I don't want to put pressure on (North coach) Barry (Brown), but they're going far," said Malott. "I won't be surprised that come March, they'll be the Maryland 2A state champs."

He later predicted an undefeated record for North, minutes after the Hubs romped to a 78-22 win against the Wildcats.

"They're smart, athletic, they play defense, they're deep," Malott said. "We were outmatched, outmanned, whatever you want to say, that's what it was."

It started from the opening whistle.

Hubs guard Kirksten Mitchell powered through the lane for the game's opening basket and Quielanna Gantt followed with a steal and easy lay-up for a 4-0 lead after only 25 seconds of action.

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A Wildcats timeout gave only a short pause to the pasting.

After a Kelly Beard free throw got the Wildcats on the board, North reeled off scoring runs of 13, nine and six points - all in the first quarter - to stake a 32-5 lead.

Mitchell scored 12 of her game-high 21 points in the opening period. Iman Scott finished the game with nine points and was one of 11 Hubs to score.

"I like this team a lot. I like everything about them," Brown said.

"I like them as individuals and I like their chemistry. I think we have a lot of that offensively and we have a lot of weapons."

The weaponry is effective on defense, too.

The Hubs (2-0) forced 18 turnovers in the period and allowed only two field goal attempts by the Wildcats (2-1). That was a good sample of what the last three quarters would be like, as Williamsport turned the ball over 46 times and finished just 2-for-19 from the floor.

The Wildcats went 21 minutes, 45 seconds between their field goals, while the Hubs made 33 of their 66 attempts.

"This team will play a lot different than any other team," Brown said. "We're deeper, more mobile and longer. We have eight kids (5-foot-10) and up. We have six sophomores and two freshmen, and as those kids get better, the team gets better."

North's depth went in its favor Friday as the Hubs committed 29 fouls - 17 in the first half - in their aggressive defense.

"I wasn't happy at all with the fouls in the first half. We have to clean that up," Brown said. "We have to play smarter - with intensity, just smarter. We got a little too exuberant in the first half, but we did a better job in the second half."

Kelly Beard and Courtney Shaw each had eight points to lead Williamsport, which scored 18 of its 22 points from the free-throw line.

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