Basketball Notebook - Patriots aim for familiar place

March 02, 2001

Basketball Notebook - Patriots aim for familiar place

For the end of the 1990s, a trip to College Park in March seemed virtually a birthright for the Thomas Johnson boys. The Patriots said hello to Cole Field House in '93, '94, '95, '97, '98 and '99, bagging a pair of titles in '97 and '99.

Years beginning with 2000 didn't go so well last season, but the Patriots are looking to keep up old habits tonight in the Class 3A West final at home against Paint Branch - the defending state champ and winners of 32 straight.

"We've seen it all," TJ coach Tom Dickman said after Wednesday's semifinal win at North Hagerstown. "We've been in all the situations this year ... at this point, there's not a whole lot you can do."

Nothing to do but win, of course.

"We can't dwell on what we've done before," said TJ guard Jermaine Thomas. "Whoever we play Friday will be even tougher than (North). If we can concentrate on that ... hopefully, we'll get the job done."

Breakfast fare

Bagels and donuts seem to be the food du jour in this postseason for area teams. Chambersburg's boys allowed no points in the second quarter of their District 3 semifinal win over Hempfield to turn a competitive game into a rout.

The Southern Fulton girls took it one step earlier, never even allowing Forbes Road into their District 5 quarterfinal game. The Indians led 26-0 after one quarter. The Catoctin girls nearly joined the club in the Class 1A South quarterfinals, outscoring South Hagerstown 25-1 in the second quarter of that contest.

Paybacks stink

The Martinsburg girls tried a Dean Smith-style four corners offense to try and pull an upset of heavily favored Hampshire Tuesday in the Class AAA Region II final. The maneuver worked successfully in keeping the Bulldogs in the game - until the Trojans turned the tables on them.

When his team grabbed an nine-point lead early in the third quarter, Hampshire coach Lyndon Willis retaliated with a stall of his own. With the speed of twins Jennifer and Susan Davis and point guard Lindsay Stewart, it worked.

"We tried to match up on them, but ... they took a chance and it worked," Martinsburg coach Don Bullett said. "It was a great move on his part.

"Tasha (Robinson, the team's defensive stopper) was whipped. If we would have had a bench, we could've rested her. But it didn't happen."

Northern exposure

For the second straight season, the North Hagerstown boys ventured into the land of the big boys in 3A West only to come out with a narrow loss. Both times, the Hubs' trip to the playoffs was their first brush with 3A competition.

The knock against the Hubs had been that they simply hadn't seen that level of play - or players - by running around in the small-school Monocacy Valley Athletic League. Even in Wednesday's loss to Thomas Johnson, North proved the theory wrong.

"They've got the ability to get out and push the ball," Dickman said of the Hubs. "Nobody's run the ball back on us like that all year. And then (Scott) Rice was unbelievable. ... If that game would have gone another 10 minutes, there's no guarantee who would have won."

A couple grand

The St. James duo of Billy Keyes and Phil Scott both passed 1,000 career points in the last two weeks. Scott, the team's senior point guard, finishes with 1,022 points, while Keyes, a senior forward, has 1,136.

This week's notebook compiled by staff writer Dan Spears. He can be reached at 301-733-5131 ext. 2334 or at

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