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Rebels fall

March 13, 1999|By MARK KELLER

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - For 25 years, the banner has flown by itself in the South Hagerstown gymnasium.

The banner honors the Rebels 1974 boys basketball team, which capped a 26-0 season with a win in the state championship game at Cole Field House.

On Friday, the Rebels were in Cole Field House for the fourth time since that storied 1974 squad took home the title, looking to give the quarter-century old banner some company in the rafters at South.

But the Rebels' 1999 trip to the University of Maryland ended like their three previous trips as Clement Sorgho scored 23 points and gave Pikesville the lead for good on a 3-pointer with 3 minutes, 2 seconds left to lead the Panthers over South, 66-62.

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Pikesville (18-7) advances to today's championship game against North Dorchester, while the Rebels' - and Washington County's - boys basketball title drought was extended by one more year. The '74 Rebels were the last county team to win a state championship.

"It looks lonesome up there, doesn't it?" said South coach Bob Starkey, referring to the championship banner. "I don't think there's any doubt this is at least the second best team in South history. I saw (the 1974) team. They were very good, very big. But this is a heck of a team. We just didn't play a good game today."

But the Rebels (23-4) nearly pulled out the victory anyway. After trailing 36-30 at halftime, South outscored Pikesville 16-8 in the third quarter to take a 46-44 lead. A 6-2 spurt to start the fourth, including five points from Randy Reeder, gave the Rebels some breathing room at 52-46 with 5:09 left.

But as the clock wound down, the Panthers found a spark in Tavon Cloude. Pikesville got a 6-2 run of its own with all six points coming from Cloude to cut the deficit to two.

Jermaine Sawyer scored off an assist from Cloude to tie the score at 54-54. Reeder countered with a baseline jumper as South briefly regained the lead before Sorgho's game-breaking trey.

And then the fouls began to pile up on the Rebels. John Schnebly got his fourth and fifth fouls in a 50-second span. Dominique Richmond fouled out with 35 seconds left. Mike Lee was next with 18 seconds to go, and finally Frankie Linton with six seconds left. Pikesville scored its final nine points from the free-throw line.

"We missed our layups again like last year," Linton said. "And I think the fouls really hurt us. They made a lot of free throws."

Pikesville took advantage of 28 South fouls, going 28 of 45 from the foul line. South went to the line 15 times and converted on 11.

Reeder had 14 points and seven rebounds, while Schnebly and Moot Powell each had 12 points. Lee had 13 rebounds and Schnebly added 12. Linton had six assists.

"I don't think we played to our potential today. It was probably one of our worst games this year," Schnebly said. "It would have been nice to win, but we still had a good season."

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