By TIM KOELBLE
11:43 PM EST, January 2, 2013
The way free throws were being made — or missed if you want to look at the negative side of things — Sterling Christy had a 50-50 chance of being successful from the foul line with the game on the line.
With North Hagerstown and Williamsport each shooting at 50 percent or below for the game, Christy stepped to the line with 9.7 seconds left and knocked down two free throws to give Williamsport a 63-61 MVAL Antietam victory over North Hagerstown on Wednesday night.
“Our kids played their tails off tonight and deserved the victory,” Williamsport coach Scott Mowbray said.
Christy had the opportunity at the line after being fouled while grabbing a rebound off Cameron Cross’ missed layup in traffic.
North (5-4, 3-2), with no timeouts, had to rush to answer.
Max Ober — who led North with 16 points, and hit two critical 3-pointers in a late comeback — fired a 3-pointer out of the corner over a pair of Williamsport defenders. The shot went over the rim at the buzzer.
“I was surprised (Ober) took the shot,” Mowbray said. “I thought they would go for (Isaiah) Keyes.”
Ober, however, had the hot hand, hitting a trey with 1:10 remaining to pull the Hubs within 59-58.
After Christy hit a bucket for a 61-58 lead, Ober again hit for a 3 with 51 seconds to go at 61-all.
“(Max) hit two earlier with people in his face,” North coach Kevin Hartman said. “We were going to set a screen for him, or Keyes.”
The ebbs and flow of the game were constant.
After a quick 8-0 start for Williamsport (3-4, 2-2), North battled back with a 9-0 run in the second quarter to take a 26-19 lead at the break.
Riley Arnone scored five points and Nick Johnson hammered the offensive boards for two putbacks to push Williamsport ahead 30-28 with 5:46 left in the third quarter.
The Wildcats increased the lead to 44-35 but North ended with a 5-0 spurt, including a 3-ball by Keyes from near midcourt.
“We didn’t show up early in the third quarter and again at the beginning of the fourth quarter,” Hartman said. “But we never quit battling and scrapping.”
Three straight North turnovers resulted in three Williamsport buckets and a 50-40 lead for the Wildcats just 1:13 into the fourth quarter.
Still, Williamsport held a 59-51 after Ryan Crabtree hit two free throws before North straightened itself out.
Kenny McCreary hit two buckets, one a dunk, and to set the stage for Ober’s first 3.
After the teams combined for only six free throw attempts in the first half, the second half became just the opposite with 39 attempts between them.
Williamsport ended with 15 of 29 and North went 8 of 16.
Arnone led the Wildcats with 19 points, followed by Christy’s 14 and 11 from Johnson. Christy also produced three dunks.
“That’s three good games in a row from Riley,” Mowbray said.
Keyes backed Ober with 12 points, Eli Boykin had 11 and McCreary added 10, along with a team-high 15 rebounds.
“Without explaining a detailed efficiency gamesheet, McCreary scored a 28 and that’s probably the highest this year for us,” Hartman said. “That’s why he got a start in the second half.”
Williamsport 63, N. Hagerstown 61
NORTH HAGERSTOWN (5-4, 3-2)
Ober 16, Keyes 12, Yacyk 5, Paralta 7, McCreary 10, Boykin 10. Totals 24 8-16 61.
WILLIAMSPORT (3-4, 2-2)
Crabtree 7, Arnone 19, Christy 14, Johnson 11, Cross 5, Seibert 7. Totals 22 15-29 63.
N. Hagerstown 14 12 14 21 — 61
Williamsport 17 2 25 19 — 63
3-point goals—North 5 (Ober 2, Keyes 2, Boykin); Williamsport 4 (Arnone 3, Crabtree). Fouled out—Yacyk.
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