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Hubs get 1 quarter to pay off

March 07, 2009|By JACK HILL III

The North Hagerstown girls basketball team won its first region championship since 1986, rallying to defeat Middletown 49-43 on Saturday night in the Maryland Class 2A West final.

North Hagerstown (23-2) will play City College in the state semifinals on Friday at 5 p.m., at University of Maryland-Baltimore County.

Middletown (21-4) led the Hubs 38-26 after three quarters before North outscored the Knights 23-5 in the fourth.

Senior Kirksten Mitchell scored 12 of her game-high 26 points in the last eight minutes to lead the way for the Hubs. Mitchell also made four steals.

"We didn't do that well in the first three quarters," Mitchell said."We just brought it out and played hard in the fourth quarter. We just played defense and that was the key. We knew that we had to stop their shooting.

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"They count on me to pick up the team, so I just did my part. I just turned it on at the end. We want not only the regional championship, but also the state championship."

Six-foot senior center LaRae Allen blocked nine shots, grabbed nine rebounds and scored seven points for the Hubs. Quielanna Gantt added 11 rebounds, seven points and four steals, and Kishia Jackson had four assists.

"The key to the game was our kids hung in there under very difficult circumstances," North coach Barry Brown said. "We were losing by 12 points in the fourth quarter and yet I never sensed that our kids had lost hope. They somehow found the courage to put some tremendous defensive pressure on Middletown during that fourth-quarter comeback.

"Kirksten Mitchell put this team on her shoulders and she refused to allow us to lose this game. Kishia Jackson and LaRae Allen led us defensively today by stepping up when they needed to."

Brown was also grateful for the support from the fans.

"I think much of our credit today goes to our sixth man: Our fans," Brown said. "It wasn't just people from North High, there were people from all over the county who were here. The crowd was really into it and Middletown could feel the pressure from that environment."

Jacklyn Kessler scored 16 points and Danielle Robertson grabbed 13 rebounds for Middletown. Kallie House had eight points and three assists, Madeline Keimig had eight points and three steals, and Chrissy Payne had three blocked shots.

"We pretty much controlled the game until the final four minutes," Middletown coach Bill Miskell said. "Then the game started to get more physical and that played more into North Hagerstown's favor than it did ours. When they were scoring a lot in the last four minutes, we just couldn't match them. We struggled a little bit in that."

North Hagerstown 49, Middletown 43
MIDDLETOWN (21-4)

House 8, Keimig 8, Oursler 4, Kessler 16, Maerz 1, Payne 1, Robertson 5. Totals 17 4-13 43.
NORTH HAGERSTOWN (23-2)
Jackson 3, Gantt 7, Allen 7, Mitchell 26, Scott 6. Totals 17 9-14 49.
Middletown 15 16 7 5 -- 43
North 9 15 2 23 -- 49

3-point goals -- Middletown 5 (House 2, Keimig 2, Kessler), North 6 (Jackson, Mitchell 5).

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