Hubs' final answer takes down 'Cats

December 13, 2008|By Bob Parasiliti

It didn't make the North Hagerstown basketball team rich, but it had the "final answer."

The Hubs didn't win a million, just a game.

North solved Williamsport's sticky half-court trap in the final minutes and hit Joe Mattei on a backdoor cut for a reverse layup in the final 11 seconds on Friday to seal a 53-50 victory.

"I credit Williamsport with the way they stayed in the game," said North coach Kevin Hartman. "We stayed in there and fortunately we were able to finish the game with an answer."

It was an answer that took a little time to formulate. Instead of being a battle of wills, this game was a battle of wants.


North (2-1) wanted to get on the open floor and crash the backboard for easy shots. Williamsport (1-1), in turn, preferred to stay in front of the Hubs' progress and play a half-court game.

For the most part, Williamsport did the job, but the Wildcats took an unscheduled coffee break in the end.

"In the fourth quarter, we had opportunities, but we didn't make the play," said Williamsport coach Scott Mobray. "Our guys played extra hard ... their tongues were hanging out at the end of the game. We were there and we tried, but we were a play or two shy."

Williamsport rallied for a 25-25 tie at the half but fell behind 43-36 after three quarters, thanks mostly to North's 12-5 burst to start the second half. The Hubs found wide-open space to move the ball as Brent Bell and Mike Rivas scored four points each in the four-minute opening run.

North, playing without injured outside threat Allen Sandberg, was happy to snake inside for shorter shots.

"With Allen injured, we knew it would limit our outside shooting," Hartman said. "In practice, we decided we didn't want to take any outside shots and just take it to the hole."

As a result, North took only two 3-pointers in the game while Williamsport launched four. All were misses.

Williamsport began to use the Hubs' quickness against them, going to a 1-3-1 half-court trap.

The move knocked North out of sync and forced airballs and mistakes to allow the Wildcats to rally.

The Wildcats used an 8-0 run, capped by Trey Malott's 18-foot jumper off the left wing, in the middle of the fourth quarter to pull within 47-46 with 2:43 remaining.

The teams traded baskets, including layups by North's Tyler Spencer and Williamsport's Michael Warrenfeltz in the final minute to keep the one-point spread.

North attacked Williamsport's helter-skelter trap and managed to keep the ball long enough for Bell to find Mattei breaking to the basket for the game-sealing score. Colby McCauley missed on a 3 with 2.4 seconds remaining.

"You work on those things in practice and it's a matter of getting the kids in the right spots," Hartman said. "And then a matter of waiting to see what happens."

Bell led North with 14 points and seven rebounds while Mattei finished with 10 points and eight boards. Four Hubs finished in double figures and five had at least five rebounds.

Warrenfeltz had 21 for Williamsport while Malott finished with 10.

"Their quickness bothered us both on offense and defense," Mowbray said. "They're quick and that kept them in the game. There were times that we didn't keep them in front of us."

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