HAGERSTOWN — The North Hagerstown boys basketball team got something it actually needed for Christmas.
There were no socks and underwear for the Hubs. No, instead, they got a point guard named J.R. Railing.
“J.R. was a football player and it took him to about Christmas to get into the flow of things,” said North coach Kevin Hartman. “Since then, he has stepped up to become the leader we needed. For the last 1 1/2 months, he’s done an exceptional job.”
Railing showed the total control the Hubs desperately needed again on Friday as he scored a game-high 27 points while masterfully keeping North in an offense for an 64-53 MVAL Antietam win over Boonsboro.
Despite nearly scoring half of North’s points, Railing proved his worth by steadying the Hubs through a rough patch coming out of the half. Boonsboro (3-15, 0-12) scored the final eight points of the first half to move within 25-21 at the break.
Railing handled the ball against the Warriors’ aggressive defense as North (9-9, 7-5) scored the first five points of the third quarter — including his three-point play — to give the Hubs a quick 30-21 advantage.
“We told them at the half that we wanted to play our game,” Hartman said. “We wanted to go inside out with the offense. Railing took what they were giving him and was very patient when we needed and ran when we wanted to.”
The Warriors didn’t back down as they used a pair of 3s by Scott Bennett to stay within 36-32 with 2:24 left in the third quarter.
North’s pressure added some breathing room as the Hubs ran off a 12-4 run over the next 5 minutes, 20 seconds to move to a 52-36 advantage with 6:04 remaining in the game.
Max Ober led the defense with his head-to-head play on Bennett. Bennett scored 14 points — including four 3s — but couldn’t get a shot against the Hubs’ pint-sized guard.
“We were able to switch up defenses and be aggressive,” Hartman said. “They came back because we allowed them to get score in paint before the half. We didn’t give them any easy looks and our defensive play carried over to the offense.”
The game started slowly as the teams played to a 2-2 tie through the first 4 1/2 minutes. North used a quick 10-2 burst near the end of the quarter — including six points by Railing — to build a 12-4 lead and had a 16-7 advantage by the end of the period.
The Hubs led 25-13 until Boonsboro’s 8-0 run in the final three minutes of the half, which included six by Riley Stephenson.
“We’re trying,” said Boonsboro coach Skip Chambers. “It’s frustrating because the kids played their tails off to the end. They’re just not scoring when we need it. Give (North) all the credit ... they took us out of our stuff.”
Nick Colvin backed Railing with 16 points — including 10 in the fourth quarter — and eight blocked shots. Stephenson led Boonsboro with 15 points and seven rebounds.
JV: North 55-52, OT (B: Crown 15; NH: Stubbs 13).
North Hagerstown 64, Boonsboro 53
BOONSBORO (3-15, 0-12)
Seabright 4, Jardeleza 3, Lewis 4, Stephenson 15, Strunk 2, Bitner 2, Bennett 14, Miranda 9. Totals 17 14-15 53.
NORTH HAGERSTOWN (9-9, 7-5)
Ober 3, Pllana 4, Keyes 9, Colvin 16, Railing 27, Peralta 5. Totals 24 12-23 64.
Boonsboro 7 14 15 17 — 53
North Hagerstown 16 9 22 17 — 64
3-point goals — Boonsboro 5 (Bennett 4, Stephenson), North Hagerstown 4 (Railing 3, Keyes). Fouled out — North Hagerstown (Peralta). Technical foul — North (Colvin).