HAGERSTOWN — North Hagerstown’s Iman Scott caught fire in the second quarter to help the Hubs build a lead, and North’s defense did enough in the second half to turn back Catoctin 64-50 on Friday night in a key MVAL Antietam girls basketball game.
The victory moves North (5-3, 5-1) into a virtual tie with Catoctin (9-3, 6-1) and Smithsburg (9-1, 5-1) atop the Antietam standings, with each team having just one league loss. Catoctin beat Smithsburg and the Leopards beat the Hubs earlier this season. Each team will play the other two once more.
“This was a big game,” said Hubs coach Cyndi Benjamin, who played at Catoctin before graduating in 2001, then was an assistant coach for the Cougars from 2006 to 2009 before taking the head coaching job at North. “We only had one shot to play them last year and they beat us. This was a big game for us and for me, and now we’re tied atop the conference again.”
After an evenly played first quarter in which North took a 15-14 lead, Scott found her shooting stroke in the second. She made two 3-pointers and scored eight points in a 14-0 run that gave the Hubs a 29-17 lead, then made another 3 for a 32-19 lead. North took a 38-24 advantage into halftime.
“I just went on a streak,” said Scott, who led the Hubs with 15 points — 11 coming in the second quarter. “I hit one and it felt right, then the other two I was hesitant to shoot, but I let them go and they went in.”
“When Iman gets hot, she gets hot and she has a lot of confidence on the ball,” Benjamin said. “We went on that spurt going into halftime, and we needed it after that third quarter.”
“(Scott) is a great player. She got on fire and we spazzed out and fell apart,” Cougars coach Amy Entwistle said. We talk about playing Cougars basketball for four quarters, but we only played three tonight.”
Scott opened the second half with her fourth and final 3-pointer of the game, and North led 44-26 after Imani Carter made 1 of 2 free throws with 6:11 left in the third quarter. That was the Hubs’ final point of the frame, as Catoctin went on a 15-0 run sparked mostly by free throws (10 for 14) to cut the lead to 44-41 entering the fourth.
“We were getting frustrated. The shots weren’t falling like in the first half,” Benjamin said. “It was one of those quarters where we couldn’t hit anything.”
But the Cougars were ice cold from the floor in the second half, making just 4 of 28 field goals in the half and just 1 of 14 in the fourth quarter. North went on a 13-2 run over the first six minutes of the final frame to pull away, riding a defense led by Quielanna Gantt (nine rebounds, seven steals) that forced 31 Catoctin turnovers.
“The defense became a little more intense,” Benjamin said. “They tried to stop reaching and stop fouling, and they played smarter.”
Gantt and Corie Anderson each finished with 12 points for North, while Scott had seven rebounds.
Tara Woelfel led Catoctin with a game-high 23 points — 10 coming in an electric four-minute stretch of the first quarter. She scored on set shots from the perimeter and drives to the basket, but her teammates made just five field goals on the night.