Hubs clamp down with defense

March 01, 2011|By DAN KAUFFMAN |

SYKESVILLE, Md. — Given that North Hagerstown’s girls basketball team knocked South Carroll out of the playoffs last year, the Cavaliers wanted a little revenge against the Hubs in Tuesday night’s Maryland Class 2A West quarterfinal game.

But North had other plans and the Hubs’ defense took care of business, holding the Cavaliers to 9-for-41 shooting in a 38-31 victory.

“It’s a good thing we had defense. We didn’t have much offense,” North coach Cyndi Benjamin said. “The defense is definitely what kept us in this game. I’ve always stressed that defense is something that we can control. The offense may not always be there and shots may not fall, but we always control defense, and our defense saved us.”

The win sets the Hubs (15-6) up for a chance at a little revenge of their own, as they will travel to face Liberty on Thursday. The Lions knocked North out of last year’s playoffs and beat the Hubs on a game-ending 3-pointer just a couple weeks ago.

“The whole team will be very up for that one,” Benjamin said. “That banked 3-point shot is still fresh in everyone’s mind, and they want another shot at Liberty.”

North’s defensive intensity was on display from the opening tip Tuesday.

The Hubs held South Carroll (18-5) to 1-for-11 shooting in the first quarter, while Iman Scott had five points, Autumn Fisher had four and Quielanna Gantt hit a 3 as North led 13-5 after eight minutes.

The Hubs stretched the lead to 20-8 with 4:08 left in the first half, but North’s top two post players — Fisher and Akatshi Osongo — each picked up their third fouls. An 8-1 run by the Cavaliers cut the lead to 21-16 at halftime.

South Carroll kept chipping away, going to Katie Mathias in the post. She scored eight of her game-high 14 points in the third quarter, and the Cavaliers got within one at 26-25 with 1:05 left in the period before Gantt’s jumper off the glass gave North a three-point lead entering the fourth.

South Carroll took its only lead at 29-28 on Mathias’ short jumper with 6:52 left. That was the Cavaliers’ last field goal — they finished 1-for-12 in the fourth quarter — and Scott hit two 3s for a 34-29 lead with 5:45 to play. Scott led North with 12 points.

North went 4-for-9 from the foul line in the last three minutes, but it was enough. Though the Hubs committed nine turnovers in the fourth quarter, their defense and rebounding made up for it. North outrebounded South Carroll 39-26 in the game, with Scott grabbing 13 and Osongo 12.

“Defense is always a point of emphasis for us,” Scott said. “We often slack off on defense. We have good games and bad games. But Coach was really pushing us to play good ‘D’ tonight.”

North Hagerstown 38, South Carroll 31

Anderson 1 2-4 4, Gantt 3 1-3 8, Fisher 3 0-0 6, Scott 4 1-2 12, Osongo 1 1-4 3, Forrest 0 1-2 1, Perini 1 2-2 4. Totals 13-40 8-18 38.
Ndifang 0 4-6 4, Mathias 6 2-3 14, Slifer 1 3-5 6, Hein 1 2-2 4, Quinn 1 1-3 3. Totals 9-41 12-19 31.
North 13  8  7  10  — 38
So. Carroll  5  11  9  6  — 31

3-point goals — North 4 (Gantt, Scott 3), South Carroll 1 (Slifer). Rebounds — North 39 (Scott 13), South Carroll 26 (Mathias 5). Assists — North 10 (Anderson 4), South Carroll 8 (Hein 3). Steals — North 10 (Scott 4), South Carroll 7 (Slifer 4). Turnovers — North 23, South Carroll 17. Fouled out — Fisher.

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