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Dogs' role players step up for big win

February 10, 2009|By Tim Koelble

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Believe the notion that there are players other than Isaac Thornton on the Martinsburg boys basketball roster.

No. 1 Martinsburg made a huge statement in the Eastern Panhandle in its much-awaited matchup Monday night with a 59-34 victory against No. 2 Musselman.

"We sent a message with this win tonight," said Martinsburg coach Dave Rogers. "(Isaac) has no doubt carried us, but others came and played well tonight."

Suffering from flu-like symptoms, Thornton was simply not up to par. He managed 13 points and had one spurt when he scored seven points to start the third period and jettison the Bulldogs to a commanding 37-21 lead.

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Starter Cameron Cato had been to Pittsburgh earlier in the day to attend the funeral of a grandfather. Starter Bret Rogers had flu symptons, and even center Michael Cole had a cold.

Cole was the main 'Dog who pained Musselman (14-2).

When it was apparent Thornton was subpar, missing his first four shots, it was Cole who came up with nine points in the first period to lead Martinsburg to a 17-10 advantage -- and he looked like Pau Gasol draining a 3-pointer from the corner.

"Michael is a good shooter when he's got the offense going," said Rogers. "He's understanding offense is just one part and there is more to it."

Cole said he was ready for the first of two meetings with Musselman -- the rematch is set for Feb. 17.

"I was really hyped for this one," he said. "You could see in warmups some didn't feel well and (Cam) was back from a tough situation. I just had to step up."

Leading 23-17 early in the second period, Tevin Walker and Cole each scored to stretch the lead to 10 and the Bulldogs never looked back.

"Our kids gutted it out tonight," said Rogers. "You gotta understand Musselman is a great basketball team with only one loss. They're big inside and we're fortunate to get out with this win."

Cole finished with 16 points and Cato and Walker each had 10 for the Bulldogs. Cato also had five steals and Cole blocked four shots.

Musselman's opportunities to score were thwarted by turnovers -- 23 compared to five for Martinsburg.

"We turned the ball over too much, escpecially in the first half," said Musselman coach Derek Basile. "We got the ball inside and got good looks but we just couldn't finish."

Morgan McDonald was held to only six points and Logan Holloman hit just one 3-pointer. The Applemen were led by J.D. Daniels' 12 points.

"We did some good things tonight, but we need to correct the turnovers," said Basile.

Martinsburg made 14 of 17 foul shots compared to 2 of 4 for the Applemen -- with two of those attempts near the end with the game decided.

Martinsburg 59, Musselman 34
MUSSELMAN (14-2, 2-2)

Alvarez 5, Daniels 12, Holloman 3, McDonald 6, Pons 4, Brown 4. Totals 15 2-4 34.
MARTINSBURG (16-2, 5-0)
Cato 10, Cole 16, Thornton 13, Walker 10, Mohamed 2, Hairston 2, Kidwai 2. Totals 22 14-17 59.
Musselman 10 7 13 4 -- 34
Martinsburg 17 12 18 12 -- 59

3-point goals -- Musselman 2 (Holloman, Alvarez); Martinsburg 1 (Cole). JV -- Martinsburg 52-30 (Mu: Potter 8; Ma: Eddy-Clerios 19).

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