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Hagerstown boys top Bulldogs, advance to title game

Hagerstown High School boys basketball Head Coach Chad Romack talks to his team during a timeout in Friday night’s Wayne County Tournament game against Centerville. The Tigers defeated the Bulldogs 63-42 to move into Saturday night’s championship game against Northeastern. Dan Harney photo

By DAN HARNEY - For The Courier-Times

HAGERSTOWN—There will be a new champion in the Wayne County Basketball Tournament for boys this year.

The Hagerstown boys basketball team turned up the defensive heat in the second quarter Friday night to take control and went on to eliminate defending champion Centerville  63-42.

The Tigers moved to the championship game Saturday night against Northeastern. The Knights advanced to the title game by defeating Cambridge City Lincoln 82-53 Thursday.

In the Dec. 14 regular season game between Hagerstown and Centerville, the Tigers jumped out to a 12-0 lead and never looked back, winning 70-40 in a blowout. The pace of this rematch game was much different.

Hagerstown took an early lead, but could not hold it. After ties at 2-2, 5-5 and 7-7, the Tigers forged ahead 9-7 on a Silas Parsons basket. Centerville became more aggressive. A three-pointer from Dante Torres and a free throw from Kobe Brown gave the Bulldogs a 12-9 advantage.

Cody Swimm answered with a three-pointer for Hagerstown to tie the game at 12-12. Centerville worked the ball to get three-pointers for sophomore sharpshooter Austin Farlow. He delivered back-to-back to give the Bulldogs their biggest lead of the game at 18-12.

The Tigers dialed up the defensive pressure and started a run. They ran off 15 straight points. Back-to-back baskets by Michael Howard, a basket by Swimm and another field goal and free throw from Howard sent Hagerstown to the end of the first quarter leading 21-18.

Then the Tigers scored the first six points of the second quarter to extend their lead to nine points at 27-18. Kobe Brown scored the Bulldogs’ only two points of the quarter and Parsons sank two free throws that allowed Hagerstown to maintain its nine-point lead at halftime.

The Tigers picked up the third quarter where they left off. Noah Dale hit a three-pointer, then scored on a rebound basket on the next Hagerstown possession to expand the Tiger lead to 36-20.

Good teams always make a run to get back in the game and the Bulldogs started theirs after a Swimm three-pointer gave Hagerstown a 17-point lead at 43-26 with 2:49 remaining in the third quarter. Centerville closed out the third period on 7-0 run to slice its deficit to 43-33 heading into the fourth quarter.

Farlow scored off a steal to open the final period, and the Bulldogs were within eight points. They would get no closer. Howard scored back-to-back and Tigers started to pull away.

Hagerstown called timeout with 4:53 to play. Branton Payne broke loose for back-to-back three pointers and the Tigers ended the game on a 14-4 run. The final 21-point margin was the largest of the game.

Hagerstown had four players score in double figures. 6-5 sophomore Michael Howard let the way with 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to record a double-double. His 6-5 junior teammate Silas Parsons added 15 points. Senior Cody Swimm tossed in 13 points and classmate Noah Dale added 11.

Austin Farlow led Centerville, and all game scorers, with 19 points, including five three-pointers.

Centerville Head Coach Seve Beach said his team turned in a strong performance against a much bigger Tiger squad.

“We got off to a better start tonight than the first time we played,” Beach said. “We have a bunch of players who never quit, they just keep fighting. We knew we would have to hit the outside shot and box out against them. We did our best to do that. We got back to within eight and (Noah) Dale scores on a rebound basket. If we had gotten that loose ball instead of him and came down and scored to cut it to five or six, the outcome may have been totally different. But hats off to them. They weathered a couple of punches from us and found a way to win.”

Tiger Head Coach Chad Romack knew it might be closer in the rematch.

“We knew coming in here tonight that Centerville is a dangerous team,” Romack said. “They have perimeter shooters. We knew they would be hungry. On the other hand, I was proud of our kids. We were able to weather the storm a few times when they made runs. We didn’t panic, we stayed with our game plan, and executed. We really took control in the second quarter when we held them to only two points. We are getting more out of our bigs (Parsons and Howard). We have made some changes in our offense to get them more touches. They have both responded and now we are an inside-outside team which gives us better looks on the perimeter.”

Hagerstown 63, Centerville 42

CENTERVILLE (42)

Farlow 7-11 0-0 19, Jam Pamplin 0-0 0-0 0, Stevens 2-5 0-0 5, Brown 3-11 2-2 9, Torres 2-4 1-2 6, Reed 1-2 1-2 3, Jellison 0-0 0-2 0, Jav Pamplin 0-0 0-0 0, Cunningham 0-0 0-0 0, Schilling 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 15-36 4-8 42.

HAGERSTOWN (63)

Favorite 0-0 0-0 0, Swimm 5-8 0-0 13, Sherrow 0-0 0-0 0, Payne 3-7 0-0 8, McMillan 0-0 0-0 0, Romack 0-1 0-0 0, Dale 4-7 2-2 11, Himelick 0-3 0-0 0, Roman 0-0 0-0 0, Parsons 4-9 7-8 15, Howard 6-9 3-3 16, Rhoades 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-44 12-13 63.

Centerville 18 2 13 9 - 42

Hagerstown 21 8 14 20 - 63

3-point goals – Centerville 8 (Farlow 5, Brown, Stevens, Torres), Hagerstown 7 (Swimm 3, Payne 2, Dale, Howard). Rebounds – Centerville 18 (Reed 5), Hagerstown 34 (Howard 12). Total fouls – Centerville 16, Hagerstown 13. Turnovers – Centerville 16, Hagerstown 11. Fouled out - Schilling. Records – Centerville 2-9, Hagerstown 5-5.