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North rallies to beat Walkersville

January 24, 2009|By DAN KAUFFMAN

If practice makes perfect, North Hagerstown's girls may want to try coming from behind in every game.

It worked against Century on Jan. 8 -- when the No. 2 Hubs rallied from seven points down in the fourth quarter with a 15-1 run. And it worked again Saturday, when North used a 16-0 run spanning the third and fourth quarters to erase a 44-35 Walkersville lead and claim a 69-57 victory over the Lions in a key MVAL Piedmont matchup.

"We had to just hang in there," Hubs coach Barry Brown said. "Things weren't going our way. We just had to keep playing. It's a 32-minute game, and we've done this several times. It was similar to the Century game."

North (11-1, 2-1) made the comeback thanks to two things the Hubs were unable to do against Walkersville (7-5, 1-2) in the first half -- turn the Lions over with full-court pressure and turn the game into an uptempo affair, and make foul shots.

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The rally started with 2:15 left in the third quarter when Kirksten Mitchell made a steal and converted it into a layup. Iman Scott and LaRae Allen made baskets in transition in the next 40 seconds to cut the Walkersville lead to 44-41.

An offensive rebound and putback by Imani Carter, and two foul shots by Mitchell, gave North a 45-44 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Meredith Perini opened the fourth with two foul shots, and baskets by Allen and Kishia Jackson -- who returned after missing a couple games with a high ankle sprain -- gave North a 51-44 lead.

"It seemed like they were getting a little frustrated with themselves, and we kind of took them out of their comfort zone and took control of the game," Allen said. "We knew we could win this game. We had to pull ourselves together. A win like this sets us up for a tough next week."

Jackson's deep 3-pointer from the top of the key with 6:17 left made it 54-46 and seemed to deflate the Lions.

From there, North -- which made just 5 of 17 foul shots in the first half -- made 15 of 20 in the final four minutes to stay in front. Allen made 8 of 11 herself as she finished with 16 points.

Walkersville took a 35-28 lead into halftime behind Krysten Grossnickle, who scored 11 of her team-high 13 points in the first half by being more physical inside than the Hubs. The Lions regularly broke North's press by attacking it with long passes up the court, and ran their halfcourt sets well to free up Grossnickle and others inside.

Walkersville made just 6 of 27 shots in the second half, including 2 of 15 in the fourth quarter.

Mitchell led North with 18 points and Jackson had 10. Quielanna Gantt had seven rebounds, Allen had five blocks and Mitchell added four assists.

Notes: Before the game, Cathy Parson gave the Hubs an inspirational speech. Parson graduated from North Hagerstown in 1979 and West Virginia University in 1984 after setting the career scoring records at both schools -- she still holds the WVU mark with 2,128 points. She coached the Washington Mystics in 1998.

North Hagerstown 69, Walkersville 57
WALKERSVILLE (7-5, 1-2)

Hildebrand 4, Beachy 6, Lupinetti 9, Grossnickle 13, Martin 3, Disney 11, Work 1, Tuck 10. Totals 18 18-28 57.
NORTH HAGERSTOWN (11-1, 2-1)
Mitchell 18, Koterwas 6, Gantt 6, Jackson 10, Scott 5, Allen 16, Perini 6, Carter 2. Totals 21 25-45 69.
Walkersville 16 19 9 13 -- 57
North 14 14 17 24 -- 69

3-point goals -- Walkersville 3 (Disney, Tuck 2), North 2 (Jackson 2). Fouled out -- Grossnickle. Technical -- Tuck.

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