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Hubs' Mitchell goes to work

North advances to 2A West title game against Middletown

North advances to 2A West title game against Middletown

March 05, 2009|By DAN KAUFFMAN

Kirksten Mitchell has had some big games in her career, but the North Hagerstown senior never has had one like the one she played Thursday.

Mitchell finished an assist shy of her first-ever triple double, racking up 25 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists as the Hubs never trailed in a 74-52 victory over Clarksburg in the Maryland Class 2A West semifinals.

"She was a blue-collar worker today, no doubt about it," Hubs coach Barry Brown said. "She had her lunch pail and went to work, and I love to see it. She's dedicated herself to this program for four years, and her and the other seniors aren't ready for it to end yet."

North (22-2) will host Middletown (20-3) in the 2A West final on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Hubs will be seeking their first trip to the state tournament since 1986.

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North split two games with the Knights in MVAL Piedmont play this season, winning the second game 64-46 at home on Feb. 3.

"The atmosphere is going to be intense," Mitchell said. "We just have to be focused and play hard at both ends of the floor."

"We're knocking on the door and we want to knock it in," Brown said. "We have to come out Saturday playing our 'A' game, because we're going to be playing a very fine team."

Just like their quarterfinal game against Liberty on Tuesday, the Hubs started fast against Clarksburg, scoring the first nine points and taking a 17-4 lead in the first five minutes.

"There's no secret to it, we just get pumped up in the locker room and get focused," Mitchell said. "We want to start fast, it gives us confidence and it tires the other team out."

Clarksburg (15-9) made an 11-2 run to cut the lead to 19-15 early in the second quarter.

That's when Mitchell and fellow senior LaRae Allen went to work. Mitchell scored 11 points and Allen six in a 19-4 run that gave North a 38-19 lead with 1:37 left in the first half. Clarksburg never got within 13 points after that.

"What can you say when you have kids like Kirksten and LaRae, who see them make a run and know they have to step up, and they do," Brown said.

Although she made two 3-pointers in the first half, Mitchell's outside shot was inconsistent. Undaunted, she rolled up her sleeves and showed the physical style that made her an effective power forward as a sophomore, as well as the passing skills that helped her become a stellar point guard.

"This was one of the most physical games we've played, but that's what we have to get through to get where we want to be," Mitchell said.

Allen, Quielanna Gantt and Kishia Jackson each had 11 points and seven rebounds in support of Mitchell. Allen had five blocks and Jackson added five assists and three steals.

North won every quarter -- scoring at least 18 points in each -- and held Clarksburg to 20-for-73 shooting while outrebounding the Coyotes, 59-38. The Hubs made 25 of 66 shots.

"We wanted to win every quarter tonight, and I give the kids credit," Brown said. "It takes mature kids to do that."

Tiara Ward had 12 points and Nicole Cunningham and Page Harris added 10 for Clarksburg.

North Hagerstown 74, Clarksburg 52
CLARKSBURG (15-9)

Cunningham 10, Harris 10, Ti. Johnson 6, Ward 12, Tu. Johnson 5, Ziemke 2, Hackett 3, Clark 2, Ryland 2. Totals 20 12-19 52.
NORTH HAGERSTOWN (22-2)
Gantt 11, Mitchell 25, Allen 11, Scott 6, Perini 3, Jackson 11, Koterwas 3, Carter 4. Totals 25 18-23 74.
Clarksburg 13 10 15 14 -- 52
North 19 19 18 18 -- 74

3-point goals -- North 6 (Mitchell 2, Scott 2, Perini, Jackson).

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