During halftime of Saturday’s Tri-Eastern Conference girls basketball game between Tri and Hagerstown, Nettle Creek Gazette sports writer Dan Harney said, “Hagerstown’s in this game because of pure guts.”
That’s been the type of team coach Chris Oliger has put together year in and year out.
The Tigers remain the only team undefeated in the TEC standings, and they’ve found ways to win.
Hayley Rogers hit a buzzer-beating layup to give Hagerstown a 46-45 win over Tri High in a game of teams previously undefeated in the TEC.
Hagerstown is now 4-0. Tri, Lincoln and Union City are all 3-1.
Rogers was a sophomore when Hagerstown won its most recent TEC crown.
That year, the Tigers were senior packed.
This year, Rogers is one of two.
“For not playing very much my sophomore year, but also playing with Nyla (Rueter, currently a Division I athlete at St. Bonaventure), I think it was a good experience for me,” Rogers said. “To do it this year, too, it’s a good experience for all the younger ones as well. I hope we can get it, because we work as a team well.”
Rogers and Karley Hannon are Hagerstown’s seniors.
In Saturday’s victory, Rogers started along with sophomores Gabby Willis, Tawni Brown and Savannah Houck, as well as junior Kaley Caudill.
In other words, the Tigers are young — but Rogers and Hannon have both provided strong senior leadership, Oliger said.
“I’m so proud of her for what she’s done and what she’s accomplished,” Oliger said of Rogers. ” … And Karley Hannon is a great leader, people need to know that — how well they lead this team. And we’re just getting better.”
Three of the Tigers’ final games are against TEC foes.
They travel to Lincoln Jan. 16, Northeastern Jan. 21 and host Union City Jan. 27.
“We’ll be ready for Lincoln in the county tournament,” Oliger said. “It’s going to be a fun couple weeks. I’m looking forward to it.”
Union County won its first TEC game in more than two years Saturday.
The Patriots defeated Winchester 52-30 to earn its first TEC win since a 38-22 win over Union City on Nov. 26, 2011.
“It’s huge,” first-year coach Scott Gray said. “The kids talked about it in the locker room that they hadn’t won a TEC game since November of 2011. … It’s been a long time for them. Obviously we feel like we have some more room to grow. I explained to them just how close things are: Union City loses to Lincoln by four, Hagerstown plays Tri and beats them by one — we had Hagerstown on the ropes and just folded against Tri. … That’s part of us growing up is learning how to win.”
Maria Duckworth had 14 points to lead the Patriots in the win, while Maddie Fulton had 11 and six rebounds, Emily Goecke had nine points and Maddy Walters had seven points and seven rebounds. Leah Gabbard also had four points in her first game back from injury.