Magruder forward Joe Hugley was trapped under his own basket early in the first quarter Friday night against Quince Orchard, which caused him to throw up an off-balance shot. It was a dud. The ball never came close to going in, and after Hugley ran back down the floor to play defense, Colonels Coach Dan Harwood had a stern message for his talented big man.
“That’s an impossible shot,” Harwood said, shaking his head.
What Hugley did after that point seemed impossible enough on a night when his team played one of its worse games of the season. The Colonels were foul prone. They posted 14 turnovers by halftime — only one fewer than their first-half point total.
But Hugley came one block short of a triple-double to lead the Colonels to a hard fought, 42-40 overtime win in Gaithersburg.
“I was trying to make myself available to my teammates, coming to the ball. . . big target,” said Hugley, who finished with 18 points, 16 rebounds and nine blocks. “It’s a big win. We didn’t play too well, but we seemed to get it done. That’s all that matters.”
The 6-foot-6 Hugley battled foul trouble all evening but was the constant on the offensive end for the Colonels (11-7, 8-2 Montgomery 4A West). He scored the team’s first 11 points of the game, doing it from every spot on the floor. He hit a three-pointer and sank foul shots, and looked as if he had been recently polishing off his moves in the post. And although he picked up his fourth foul early in the fourth quarter, his seventh block of the night came with two minutes left and helped the Colonels tie the game at 33 on the ensuing possession to send the game to overtime.
Magruder had to rally from a 33-25 deficit, but neither team scored a field goal in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter.
“He knows now. He knows this is his team,” Harwood said of Hugley. “We go as far as he goes.”
Hugley opened up the overtime period with five straight points, and kept Quince Orchard (5-13, 3-7) at bay with two blocks on pivotal possessions that preserved the lead, and the Colonels knocked down five of six free throws down the stretch.
Josiah Jones added 10 points for the Colonels, who stayed neck and neck with Gaithersburg in the 4A West standings with the win. On a forgettable night for Magruder, the performance was a memorable one for Hugley, and it started with his coach in his ear early in the first half.
“He just pushes me and me, and I just accept it,” Hugley said. “I listen to what he says. I don’t listen to how he says it to me, I listen towhat he says.”