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North girls no match for Knights in opener

December 05, 2009|By CURT HORNBECKER/Staff Correspondent

MIDDLETOWN, Md. -- While two of The Herald-Mail's "Players to Watch" in Washington County were doing the watching from the sidelines for the first half, the Middletown girls basketball team took full advantage, pounding North Hagerstown 72-45 in the season opener for both teams.

Iman Scott and Quielanna Gantt were reduced to mere spectators for the first 16 minutes for violation of team rules, according to Hubs coach Cindy Benjamin, as the Knights (1-0) rolled to a 36-18 lead at the half and cruised to the win.

"This was a tough first game," said Benjamin. "Middletown has a good team, and we dug ourselves into a hole and couldn't get out."

Jackie Kessler -- the only returning starter from last season for Middletown -- and Brittney Holian combined for 17 points to spark the first-half outburst which included a 14-2 run in the first quarter. But the real credit goes to the Knights' full-court pressure defense, which forced 21 North turnovers in the first two periods.

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"Our defensive effort was really good tonight," said Middletown coach Bill Miskell. "That's what got us off to the big start. I think our pressure really shocked them."

Even with Gantt and Scott on the floor in the second half, the Hubs (0-1) could get no closer than 14 points. A 15-2 Middletown run midway through the second half -- sparked by freshman Brittney George -- extended the margin to 61-34 with 4:12 left in the game.

Despite the limited playing time, Scott led the Hubs with 12 points, while Akatshi Osongo added 10 and Gantt finished with nine.

Kessler finished with a game-high 18 points for the Knights, while Holian had 14 and George finished with 12.

Middletown 72, North Hagerstown 45
NORTH HAGERSTOWN (0-1)

Anderson 1 0-0 2, Forrest 0 0-2 0, Irving 0 2-2 2, Gantt 4 0-0 9, Koterwas 1 4-6 6, Perini 0 0-1 0, Marquis 1 1-4 3, Scott 4 4-4 12, Fisher 0 1-2 1, Osango 5 0-4 10, Totals 16 12-26 45.
MIDDLETOWN (1-0)
Staley 0 2-4 2, R. Kessler 2 0-0 2, Dalphon 1 4-5 6, Holian 5 4-5 14, J. Kessler 6 4-5 18, Bussard 1 1-2 3, George 6 0-1 12, Roy 3 2-2 8, Redmond 1 5-6 7, Totals 24 22-30 72.
North   8 10 14 13 -- 45
Middletown 19 17 14 22 -- 72

3-point goals--North (Gantt). Middletown 2 (J. Kessler 2). Fouled out--North: Perini. Middletown: R. Kessler. JV: Middletown 44-16. (N: Tia Kline 6, Kierra Sprankle 6; M: Caitlin McLister 19).

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