Williamsport tops South in boys hoop

December 07, 1999|By MARK KELLER / Sports Editor

For the Williamsport boys basketball team, it was all supposed to be about the guards this year. But in the season opener at South Hagerstown on Tuesday, the Wildcats' big men also came up big.

Josh Martin and Barrett Giles combined for 14 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots, outplaying South center Mike Lee to help the Wildcats beat the No. 4 Rebels 53-44 in a Monocacy Valley Athletic League game.

Williamsport outrebounded South 31-21 for the game and at times pounded the ball inside, where the Rebels seemed to have the advantage with the 6-foot-5, 309-pound Lee.

"We thought we might be a little quicker than them with Josh," said Williamsport coach Deron Crawford. "I thought maybe we'd have some success (inside), but not as much as we did. I was really pleased with the way we played inside."


And late in the game when the Wildcats needed it most, Crawford employed a not-so-secret weapon against the comparably green Rebels - experience.

"We talked about how we were going to be the more experienced team with five seniors starting," Crawford said. "We were in the situation in the game where we were right where we wanted to be - with seniors on the floor doing what seniors do. Step up, take the ball, knock down foul shots down the stretch."

The Rebels scrapped to stay in the game midway through the third quarter. A 6-0 Williamsport run gave the Wildcats a seven-point lead, 32-25. Danny Fowler and Skip Jackson scored consecutive buckets and Fowler hit a 3-pointer from the right corner as the Rebels closed within three at the end of the period.

South cut the deficit to one halfway through the fourth when Alberto Valentin scored and was fouled on a drive to the basket. But Valentin couldn't convert the free throw - South made just 2 of 8 - and left the door open for Williamsport.

Martin scored and was fouled inside with 3 minutes, 18 seconds left. He hit the free throw and sparked the Wildcats to an 8-0 run and a 49-40 lead with 1:22 left.

"They had the experienced guards and they were confident with the ball," said South coach Bob Starkey. "We were a little shaky with the ball. Guys were thrust into positions early, and they weren't ready for those positions."

Ryan Grabill led the Wildcats with 15 points and five steals. Fowler and Jackson, in their first varsity starts, had 14 points apiece for the Rebels.

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