HAGERSTOWN —The Clear Spring and North Hagerstown boys basketball teams engaged in a game of lost and found on Thursday.
The Blazers lost sight of the basket and the Hubs found some depth. Thus, Clear Spring lost the game and North found a win.
North Hagerstown took an early lead and walled off Clear Spring’s way to the rim to coast to a 68-34 MVAL Antietam victory.
All it took was basically 11 minutes of play. The Hubs (7-4, 5-2) ran off a 26-6 run that started with 1:30 to go in the first quarter and lasted until 6:30 of the third quarter to seal the game.
It turned North’s 15-12 lead to an overwhelming 41-16 advantage as the Hubs not only stopped the Blazers (4-4, 2-4) from scoring, they prevented them from getting anything in the paint.
“I think their size and presence in the paint set the tempo,” said Clear Spring coach Ryan Grabill. “We got jumper-happy. We were intimidated by them and didn’t attack the rim.”
With Clear Spring hanging around the backcourt, it made it all easy pickings for the Hubs to impose their will.
North did it with a makeshift starting lineup, as players like Jaquien Gantt — who scored 10 points — started and saw extensive playing time.
“The kids saw that working hard in practice will get them time in the game today,” North coach Kevin Hartman said. “I don’t know if the defense turned the tide, but we converted our opportunities when we started. Max (Ober) opened the middle for the offense and defense to get us off to a good start.”
North opened in a press to take an early 10-4 lead before Clear Spring rallied to get within 15-12, as David Moser scored four points.
Then the Hubs took over.
Gantt started the run with a 3 and Ober scored on a jumper to give North a 20-12 lead at the end of the quarter. The Hubs allowed only two Clear Spring layups in the second quarter to pull out to a 36-16 lead at the half.
“We got behind and we have no firepower to come back,” Grabill said. “Their length and athleticism stayed in the back of our minds. The bottom line is that North is just better than us.”
Problems compounded for Clear Spring when point guard Brandon Quilici went down with a knee injury with 2:38 remaining in the first quarter and was out for the rest of the game.
“We have been playing without Ryan Aaron and we’ve been without (Riley) Lazich all year,” Grabill said. “Then we lose another point guard today and had to turn to a freshman to take over. The injury bug bit us again. Someone has to step up.”
Clear Spring only scored consecutive baskets twice in the game.
North closed the third quarter with a 17-9 run to hold a 58-25 lead after three, and worked the clock in the final quarter to finish off the game.
Kenny McCrary led the Hubs with 14 points, while Ober added 11 and Daryus Reynolds had 10. Collin Schultz led Clear Spring with 13.
“The team played well,” Hartman said. “We had 20 assists tonight, which means we were looking out for each other on offense, and I was happy with the way the defense played.”
North Hagerstown 68, Clear Spring 34
CLEAR SPRING (4-4, 2-4)
Quilici 2, Riley 6, Schultz 13 Brant 7, Moser 4, Fisher 2. Totals 15 3-8 34.
NORTH HAGERSTOWN (7-4, 5-2)
Dossouvi 1, Ober 11, Gantt 10, Bouykin 2, Karlen 3, Keyes 3, McCrary 14, Carey 2, Yacyk 7, Peralta 4, Reynolds 10. Totals 27 11-15 68.
Clear Spring 12 4 9 9 — 34
North 20 16 22 10 — 68
3-point goals — Clear Spring 1 (Brant), North Hagerstown 3 (Ober, Gantt, Keyes).