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Sloppy Saints sink in rush of Potomac

January 12, 1997

By SHELDON SHEALER

Staff Writer

ST. JAMES - It took only six minutes and three seconds for St. James boys' basketball team to squander a 32-minute contest.

In the third quarter of the Saints' Sunday matinee with Potomac School, the Panthers turned St. James' ill-advised shots, turnovers and fouls into a 15-0 run, erasing a nine-point Saints' lead, en route to a 49-44 Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference victory.

Sitting slumped in an office couch, St. James coach Wayne Ridenour, bitterly upset at the defeat, said: "We didn't recognize things very well. We didn't recognize opportunities."

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The Saints (4-4, 2-1 MAC) had a perfect opportunity to bury a hot Potomac team and take control of the MAC race after Larry Scott's jumper gave the Saints a 27-18 lead 26 seconds into the third quarter.

Instead, Potomac's 6-foot-8, 320-pound center Kevin Gamble, a virtual non-factor in the first half, came alive. He powered his way to eight of his 14 points during the decisive run, and the Panthers (9-4, 2-1) won for the seventh time in their last eight games.

St. James guard Danny Brewington ended the scoring drought with a basket with 1:31 left in the third quarter, but at that point the Saints trailed, 33-29.

"St. James was double-teaming both (Gamble and Joey Weiss)," said Potomac coach Al Hightower. "We started to swing the ball around. (St. James players) can't be in two places at one time. It's pretty simple. It's not part of our offense, but it was what we were going to do."

Weiss scored 11 of his team-high 16 points in the second half, including all eight of his foul shots. But perhaps just as importantly, Weiss snared a crucial missed foul shot to keep possession for Potomac in the final minute.

"They murdered us on the boards," Ridenour said.

Brewington stole the ball at midcourt and found Pete Webb for an uncontested layup with 48 seconds left, pulling the Saints within 42-41.

Potomac's Randy Ferrel was fouled on the inbounds play, sending him to the line. He hit the first foul shot, but missed the second. Weiss snuck in and grabbed the loose ball. He passed it to Shawn McNair, who was promptly fouled with 28 seconds remaining. McNair made both foul shots, stretching Potomac's lead to 45-41.

A 3-pointer by Scott drew the Saints within 45-44, but Weiss countered with a pair of free throws for a 47-44 lead with 16 seconds left. Scott's potential game-tying 3-point attempt, bounced off the rim in the closing seconds. Weiss added two more successful foul shots for the final margin.

Scott scored a game-high 22 points. Brewington added 10.

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