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Tiger boys fall in Wayne Co. championship game

Cody Swimm (12) of the Hagerstown High School boys basketball team looks for an opening in the Northeastern defense during Saturday night’s championship game of the Wayne County Tournament in Robert E. Clark Gymnasium. The Knights took a lead early in the game and held on from there to defeat the Tigers 60-49 and win the title.

By DAN HARNEY - For The Courier-Times

HAGERSTOWN — The two boys basketball teams everyone expected to see play for the Wayne County Tournament championship were there Saturday night.

Northeastern and Hagerstown fought for the right to be called champion. The Knights got off to a strong start, building nine-point lead after the first quarter. The Tigers were forced to play catch-up the rest of the game, finally falling 60-49.

Northeastern was the aggressor and got out to a great start, breaking  from a 2-2 tie with a 7-0 run. Branton Payne hit a three-pointer for Hagerstown before the Knights went on a 6-0 run. Carter Lumpkin hit a buzzer beater-shot to end the first quarter that extended the Northeastern lead to 19-10 at the first stop.

Kolden Vanlandingham and Caylor Fisher scored back-to-back to open the second quarter to extend the Knight lead to 14-points at 24-10. The Tigers started the slow uphill climb to get back in the game, got scoring from five players, and ended the second quarter on a 5-0 run to slice their deficit to 32-25 at halftime.

The Knights hit 50 percent of their field goal attempts and turned the ball over only three times in the first half, and yet the Tigers were within striking distance.

The start of the third quarter, which is critical in any game, was all Northeastern, as it opened on a 6-0 run to expand its lead back to double digits at 36-25. The Tigers never got closer than nine points in the period and they went to the fourth period trailing 49-37, as the Knights’ Blake Fisher got behind the Tiger defense to score on a wide-open lay-up as time expired.

The Tigers never quit competing, battling to the end of the contest, but they never were able to seriously threaten again.

Northeastern, who has won the Wayne County Tournament five of the last six seasons, was led in scoring by Kolden Vanlandingham with 15 points, Carter Lumpkin scored 14 and Caylor Fisher added 12.

Cody Swimm led the Tigers, and all game scorers, with 17 points. Noah Dale scored 10 points and Braden Himelick gave the Tigers a lift off the bench with eight points and eight rebounds.

Northeastern Head Coach Brent Ross said his team has been playing a difficult schedule and improving.

“With our depth, we play every game to try to wear teams down and win it in the third and fourth quarter,” Ross said. “We don’t worry about the halftime score as long as the game is being played at our pace. Hagerstown is a great team, with veteran players, so we knew they would make runs at us, but we held our lead. We got good play from all of our kids tonight.”

Hagerstown Head Coach Chad Romack said his team went away from the game plan.

“We knew we would have to handle their pressure,” Romack said. “I thought we did a decent job of that. We handled their pressure for the most part, but many times we settled for three-point shots instead of being patient. We are not a very good three-point shooting team, but we have some guys who are hard-headed and continue to shoot those shots. When we are at our best we are not attempting more than 10 to 12 three-pointers on open looks.”

Romack continued his assessment of the title game.

“When we decide we are going to put up 18, 19, or 20 threes, we are not going to beat good teams,” Romack added. “Until we get that figured out, we are going to have nights like this. Northeastern is too deep and too good to do that against them. We did some good things and we battled until the end, but we are disappointed. We wanted to win this. We talked all week about the fact that the more disciplined team would win, and that is what happened.”

Northeastern 60, Hagerstown 49


Lumpkin 4-1 6-9 14, Mikesell 1-3 0-1 3, Deitch 0-1 0-0 0, Leavell 2-5 0-0 5, Vanlandingham 7-20 1-3 15, Kinney 0-0 0-0 0, White 2-3 1-2 5, Hancock 3-3 0-0 6, Fisher 5-9 0-0 12. Totals 24-45 8-15 60.


Swimm 6-12 2-2, Sherrow 0-0 0-0 0, Payne 3-9 0-0 7, McMillan 1-2 0-0 2, Romack 0-0 0-0 0, Dale 3-5 1-2 10, Himelick 4-6 0-1 8, Parsons 0-2 0-0 0, Howard 2-7 1-2 5, Rhoades 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-44 4-7 49.

Northeastern 19 13 17 11 - 60

Hagerstown 10 15 12 12 - 49

3-point goals – Northeastern 4 (Fisher 2, Leavell, Mikesell), Hagerstown 7 (Dale 3, Swimm3, Payne). Rebounds – Northeastern 30 (Lumpkin 7), Hagerstown 30 (Himelick 8). Total fouls – Northeastern 9, Hagerstown 15. Turnovers – Northeastern 7, Hagerstown 14. Fouled out - Howard. Records – Northeastern 5-6, Hagerstown 5-6.