Bank open as Liberty stuns Hubs

February 16, 2011|By WILL ROBINSON | Staff Correspondent

HAGERSTOWN — Wednesday’s Liberty-North Hagerstown girls basketball game was won on a shot at the final buzzer, sending the winning team rushing onto the court in jubilation.

Unfortunately for the Hubs, it was a rush of blue and gold, not red and white.

A desperation 3-pointer heaved up by Liberty’s Kelly McCormick banked off the backboard and in to give the Lions a 70-69 win over the Hubs.

“That shot ... I have no idea how it went in,” said North coach Cyndi Benjamin.

It was yet more pain for the Hubs (11-6) at the hands of Liberty (15-3), which knocked North out of last year’s playoffs in the Maryland Class 2A West semifinals.

The tension in Wednesday’s fourth quarter could be cut with a knife.

North (11-6) held a 69-64 lead with 58 seconds left before McCormick made 1 of 2 free throws to cut the lead to four. A miss under the basket by Akatshi Osongo led to a transition basket for Hayley Marlatt, cutting the deficit to two.

Becca Coughlin stole the ball on North’s inbounds pass, but had the ball swiped from her by Quielanna Gantt, who passed the ball to Iman Scott in transition.

But Scott couldn’t finish, and Liberty coach Jessica Morgan called timeout after the Lions secured the rebound with 3.7 seconds left.

Morgan called the final play for McCormick — who finished with 17 points — but she was as surprised as Benjamin was at the final result.

“I’m still surprised that shot went in,” said Morgan. “McCormick is a post player with an outside shot. We figured we’d get it to her.”

The Hubs were on fire in the first half. With the game tied at 15 at the start of the second quarter, North went on a 7-0 run.

Liberty clawed back within two at 29-27 before a 5-0 run helped the Hubs take a 36-31 advantage at halftime.

The Lions started the second half with a 12-0 run — including six points by Marlatt, who led Liberty with 26 points — for a 43-36 lead.

North focused on shutting down Marlatt after that, but lost sight of Maggie McCormick, who scored nine of her 13 points in the third quarter.

The Hubs came back, with Iman Scott’s 3-pointer giving North a 50-48 lead. Maggie McCormick countered with another 3-pointer to put Liberty back up, and the Lions led 53-51 after three quarters.

North made another run to put itself in position to win, but couldn’t close the door.

“It is a lot of small things we have to work on. Nothing major, which is good,” said Benjamin. “We’ll hopefully see them in the playoffs.”

Scott led all scorers with a game-high 28 points for the Hubs. Osongo added 17 points and 13 rebounds.

JV: Liberty, 52-29 (NH: Shawntika Chandler 14).

Liberty 70, North Hagerstown 69
LIBERTY (15-3)

Coughlin 1 2-4 4, K. McCormick 6 4-10 17, Cross 1 2-2 4, M. McCormick 5 2-3 14, Vinson 1 0-0 2, Karr 1 0-0 3, Marlatt 13 0-3 26. Totals 28 10-22 70.
Anderson 4 5-7 13, Fisher 1 0-0 2, Gantt 4 0-0 9, Scott 11 3-3 28, Osongo 7 3-7 17. Totals 27 11-17 69.
Liberty    15    16    22    17    —    70
North    15    21    14    19    —    69

3-point goals — Liberty 4 (M. McCormick 2, K. McCormick, Karr), North 4 (Scott 3, Gantt). Rebounds — Liberty 35 (K. McCormick 13), North 40 (Osongo 13). Assists — Liberty 19 (Coughlin 7), North 13 (Perini 4). Turnovers — Liberty 17, North 12.

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