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Rebels earn respect with big upset

February 05, 2009

Girls Basketball



No one saw this coming -- not even South Hagerstown girls basketball coach Amy Schmuck.

Without question, the Rebels (4-10, 1-4) are a team on the rise. After their four-year losing streak reached 55 games, they won three of six to gain a measure of respectability.

On Tuesday, South earned a whole lot more respect with an out-of-nowhere 73-53 win over Frederick (10-6, 1-4) -- the Rebels first in their two-year MVAL Piedmont history.

The Cadets defeated the Rebels 80-29 on Dec. 19 -- that's a 71-point swing between the two games.

"That was the game of a lifetime for my team," Schmuck said. "It was totally unexpected, but a huge confidence builder."

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To put the magnitude of the victory into even greater perspective, the two wins No. 1 North Hagerstown (16-1, 5-1) has over Frederick were by 10 and 15 points.

The Rebels outscored the Cadets 23-12 in each of the first two quarters for a 22-point halftime lead.

"In the locker room before the game, just the atmosphere in there, the kids were out of control, very enthusiastic, ready for the game, psyched up," Schmuck said. "(Frederick) pressed us and the first two times we broke the press and scored, and they pulled the press off and we got in a flow, got in transition, got some steals and everything fell into place."

Frederick won the third quarter 18-9 to close within 55-42, but South won the fourth quarter 18-11 to finish strong.

"The third quarter is always our worst quarter," Schmuck said. "I was thinking they used so much energy the first two quarters to get the lead, I didn't know if they'd have it in the third quarter. But something clicked and we picked our lead back up, and in the fourth quarter I could see it in their eyes and I knew they had it."

South's top two scorers -- juniors Alex Silva and Luna Jefferson -- both had monster games. Silva, a point guard, finished with 29 points, 16 rebounds, six assists and six steals. Jefferson, a small forward, added 21 points and 22 rebounds.

"(Alex) is by far the leader on the team," Schmuck said. "You don't expect much from the point guard position. You expect her to lead, bring the ball down the floor and set plays up. But she can do it all, and she has more heart and desire than any player I've coached in the past. She has a real desire to win and she leads us. ... (Luna) can play the post, play guard, dribble the ball, she can do everything on the floor and I think that's what helps her."

* No. 3 Southern Fulton (15-2, 10-2) gave coach Mark Mellott his 200th career coaching victory on Jan. 26 at Hancock, a 46-29 triumph.

Mellott, who has coached the Indians for 11 years, said there was no team celebration, but "my wife had a cake for me when I got home and that was good enough."

Southern Fulton currently sits in third place in the Sideling Hill League, behind Everett (15-4, 13-1) and Tussey Mountain (14-2, 11-1). The Indians host Tussey Mountain on Monday and can climb into a tie for second with a win.

The Indians get the job done with balance, rather than stars. Brooke Whiteside (11.2 points, 2.6 assists, 2.4 steals), Natasha Bard (8.9 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.5 steals), Lacey Beatty (8.5 points, 3.0 steals) and Chelsey Hollenshead (7.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.5 steals) all play significant roles.

"This is a pretty nice team," Mellott said. "We're well-balanced and we get a little bit from everybody and that saves putting the pressure on any one person. We've had some good teams but this is right up there with them."

Boys Basketball



It's hard to believe the regular season is about to store away for another year in Pennsylvania.

After this weekend, teams that have qualified for the PIAA District 3 tournament will await their pairings, scheduled to be released Sunday.

Two Mid-Penn Conference teams from the Tri-State -- Chambersburg and Waynesboro -- have met the above-.500 criteria.

At 11-9, Chambersburg finishes its regular season tonight at home against Carlisle and Saturday at Hollidaysburg. The Trojans have made the District 3 playoffs each year since since 2004-05.

For Waynesboro, the Indians (11-11) would like to get in some practice time to find out exactly their problems in recent days, as they're on the slide with a five-game losing streak that knocked them out of the Mid-Penn Capital title chase.

Like Chambersburg, Waynesboro has been in the postseason each of the last five seasons.

* St. James senior Mike Russ went over the 1,500-point mark in his career with a bucket against Maret School. Following his 24-point effort against Heritage Academy, he stands at 1,568 points.

He's a sure bet to move into second all-time at St. James, ahead of Sam Short (1,628). The Saints' career leader is Don Anderson with 1,850 points.

* Isaac Thornton's 43-point performance against Tuscarora this week was the highest output by a player since Jefferson's Vance Hosby hit for 47 against Brooke, W.Va., on Jan. 13, 2007. The Martinsburg senior increased his season scoring average to 19.3.

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