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Great expectations

Hubs beat Leopards, but North coach isn't totally satisfied

Hubs beat Leopards, but North coach isn't totally satisfied

January 17, 2009|By DAN KAUFFMAN

North Hagerstown girls basketball coach Barry Brown said the words one would expect to hear after his No. 2 Hubs turned away No. 3 Smithsburg 69-50 on Friday night.

"I give them a lot of credit. They played hard and showed a lot of heart," Brown said.

But there's a catch: Brown said that about the Leopards. As for his own team, the Hubs have such high expectations and such tremendous potential that a 19-point win actually brought with it some disappointment.

"It's all about the intangibles we do to take advantage of our speed and size, and we didn't do them today," Brown said. "I have to keep telling myself we have a lot of youngsters and we're going to play like this sometimes. We have to get more efficient offensively and defensively."

North (8-1) still played plenty well enough to secure the victory, using its depth to keep fresh bodies on the floor and hound the Leopards into 17-for-48 shooting (35 percent). The defense offset the Hubs' own offensive struggles, as they made just 25 of 69 shots (36 percent).

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Smithsburg (9-2) hung tough for a half, trailing 31-27 at the break. But the Hubs hit their stride with a 13-0 run over a two-minute stretch of the third quarter to open up a 44-29 lead, and led 50-35 after the period.

A combination of North's pressure defense -- which forced 32 Smithsburg turnovers, 10 in the third quarter -- and a 15-8 rebounding edge in the quarter, led to the Hubs taking 26 shots to the Leopards' eight in the frame.

"We didn't play quite like I had hoped in the third quarter," Smithsburg coach Katy Barnhart said. "We gave up some second-chance opportunities and paid for it, but we played hard."

Kirksten Mitchell had 20 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals to lead the Hubs. Larae Allen had 12 points, six assists, four rebounds and four blocks, Quielanna Gantt added 12 points, eight steals and four rebounds, and Iman Scott had 10 points. North knocked down nine 3-pointers.

"Kirksten played very well today and was one of our bright spots. Quielanna and Larae picked it up in the second half," Brown said. "We'll shoot the 3. The kids are confident and I love playing that style of basketball. The one thing we didn't do as well as we should tonight was attack the rack."

Emily Hargreaves -- who entered the game averaging 7.5 points -- found her shooting touch and poured in 20 for the Leopards.

"She stepped up and played well tonight. She hit a lot of big shots when we had to have them," Barnhart said.

Katie Sprecher had 18 points and Sara Rishell added seven rebounds, four assists and four blocks for Smithsburg.

"In the first half, we realized we could play with them a little bit, they didn't just blow us out right away," Barnhart said. "I think we learned we can handle pressure if we stay calm and make good decisions. It makes you better, playing against a team like North with a lot of athletes."

North Hagerstown 69, Smithsburg 50
SMITHSBURG (9-2)

Rishell 2, Sprecher 18, Nickels 4, Hargreaves 20, Belella 6. Totals 17-48 13-19 50.
NORTH HAGERSTOWN (8-1)
Koterwas 5, Mitchell 20, Forrest 2, Scott 10, Allen 12, Gantt 12, Fisher 3, Perini 5. Totals 25-69 10-14 69.
Smithsburg 11 16 8 15 -- 50
North 9 22 19 19 -- 69

3-point goals -- Smithsburg 3 (Hargreaves 3), North 9 (Mitchell 3, Scott 2, Gantt 2, Fisher, Perini). Fouled out -- Nickels. JV -- Smithsburg, 43-38 (S: Owens 21; N: Sprankle 8).

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