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South boys hang on

December 29, 2000

South boys hang on



By BOB PARASILITI / Staff Writer


MIDDLETOWN, Md. - The bigger South Hagerstown's lead got, the shorter coach Bob Starkey's fingernails became.

"I told (assistant coach Carlton Branson) 'This is as nervous as I have ever been with an 18-point lead,'" Starkey said. "He said he had the same feeling."

The butterflies in Starkey's stomach soon turned into buzzards in the last 3 1/2 minutes of Thursday's opening game of the Rod Engle Classic. Perry Hall used a 14-0 run to close to within four and with the offense sputtering, the Rebels turned to a little-used commodity - defense - to seal a 73-69 victory.

The Gators abandoned their 2-3 zone set for a pressing defense to get back into the game. As the lead dwindled and nerves frayed, South's bench came to the rescue.

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"We ran into guys who could play better than anyone we have played," Starkey said. "We got in foul trouble and suddenly got small and thin out there, that's when (Scott) Barrish and (Tommy) Gibson came off the bench and played the defense when hadn't been playing the whole game."

South did more pestering than defending against Perry Hall (4-4) in the early going. The Rebels settled for a 40-39 halftime lead and traded baskets to open the second half. Starkey worked his defensive pair of aces into the mix right before Domonique Richmond canned a pair of 3's and Danny Fowler added a triple of his own in a 1:26 span to give South a 55-45 lead.

Then the game fell on Barrish and Gibson's shoulders as Mike Jeter and Mike Lee - South's two biggest players - were benched with foul problems.

"We went out there and we were so quick, we wanted to attack the ball," Barrish said. "When we saw Mike and Jeter go out, we needed to attack the ball because we weren't getting back on the transition too well."

South's lead climbed to 70-52 with 3:30 remaining with the defensive flurry as the Rebels managed to outscore the Gators 11-7 in the 4 minutes, 52 seconds without Lee and Jeter on the floor.

Perry Hall turned to the press and flattened the Rebels' hopes of a runaway victory. Brad Trentech scored seven straight points and Jaron Taylor added four more to help the Gators close to within 70-66 with one minute remaining.

Richmond scored the last of his 23 points to stop the bleeding, but Starkey stood steadfast, letting the game flow and the lead dwindle without calling timeout.

"You let one like that get away, I don't want to win it," Starkey said. "We were out of sync all night until Barrish and Gibson came on. That was the first time we played halfcourt defense all night."

South (6-0) hit only 1 of 8 foul shots in the final minute, but Perry Hall failed to capitalize and pull the game out.

Lee and Fowler finished with 14 points each while Jason Burris led Perry Hall with 21. Richmond had five 3s while Fowler added four.

South advances to the final against South Carroll.

South 73, Perry Hall 69


SOUTH HAGERSTOWN (73)

Richmond 23, Fowler 14, Suttle 2, Maase 7, Barrish 4, Jeter 7, Lee 14, Gibson 2. Totals 30 4-15 73.

PERRY HALL (69)

Taylor 10, Munroe 2, Trentech 17, Burris 21, Liberto 2, Metheny 2, Dobbs 4. Lipinski 11. Totals 25 16-28 69.

South24162112-73

Perry Hall1821822-69

Three-point baskets - South Hagerstown 9 (Richmond 5, Fowler 4), Perry Hall 3 (Taylor, Trentech, Burris).

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