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Bulldogs hound Eagles in Panhandle showdown

January 23, 2009|By TIM KOELBLE

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. -- Another typical Martinsburg-Hedgesville boys basketball game took place Friday -- tough, physical and close right down to the very end.

In front of more than 2,000 fans, No. 2 Martinsburg defeated Hedgesville 52-48 in a nip-and-tuck battle that was not decided until the waning moments.

"It was a good, hard-fought game and nobody backed down," said Martinsburg's Isaac Thornton, who sank two clinching free throws with 1.3 seconds remaining after Hedgesville had drawn to within 50-48 with three seconds to play.

There were a pair of scuffles between players, one technical, plenty of calls that left coaches irate -- but in the end, the Bulldogs (10-2) claimed the win from the foul line down the stretch.

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"With the schedule we've had we were worried about the legs," said Martinsburg coach Dave Rogers. "It was a rival game. Hedgesville is an aggressive team and always tough to play."

No. 3 Hedgesville (7-3) led in the game only at the end of the third quarter, 36-35, thanks to an 8-0 run capped by two free throws from Scott Jones.

Cameron Cato had a putback rebound to put the Bulldogs on top 37-36 to start the fourth quarter and they were never headed despite many anxious moments ahead.

Trailing 49-45, Hedgesville had a viable chance to catch the 'Dogs with two free throws following a technical plus possession, but managed only one point.

After Tevin Walker missed two free throws for Martinsburg, Hedgesville went blank on its next possession with Walker getting fouled on the rebound. He made one shot and then Jones hit a 3-pointer for Hedgesville to close to gap to 50-48 with three seconds left.

Martinsburg called timeout on the inbounds and was fortunate to get the ball in play the second time before Thornton was fouled.

"I tried to let the game come to me, it did and then my teammates stepped up," said Thornton, who finished with a game-high 22 points.

"(Isaac) made the plays," said Hedgesville coach Kelly Church. "He's an extremely talented player."

When Hedgesville came back in the third period, it was Thornton's nine points that kept the Bulldogs out in front with two of his baskets coming on his own defensive rebound and maneuvering the entire floor to score.

"(Isaac) took the game over and the other players followed," said Rogers of Thornton, who also had a team-high 12 rebounds.

J.R. Mayles scored 12 points and Maurice Newby, in basically one half of play, added 11.

Newby and Martinsburg's Michael Cole each had two personals early in the first quarter and sat on the pines the remained of the first half.

"(Newby) is a big part of our offense and that hurt not having him," said Church.

No rest at all -- Martinsburg hits the road at 1 p.m. today for a game tonight in Morgantown, its fifth game since last Saturday.

"It's been a hard week," said Thornton.

Martinsburg 52, Hedgesville 48
MARTINSBURG (10-2, 2-0)

Cato 11, Thornton 22, Cole 2, Walker 3, Mohamed 7, Washington 5, Hairston 2. Totals 19 12-21 52.
HEDGESVILLE (7-3, 2-1)
Fleetwood 5, Reed 6, Mayles 12, Newby 11, S. Jones 8, Snyder 2, Woods 5. Totals 19 8-16 48.
Martinsburg 11 11 13 17 -- 52
Hedgesville 10 7 19 12 -- 48

3-point goals -- Martinsburg 2 (Thornton, Cato); Hedgesville 2 (S. Jones, Reed). Technical foul -- Thornton. JV -- Martinsburg, 41-36.

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