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South slips in state semifinals-Friday

March 22, 2002|BY DAN SPEARS

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - South Hagerstown center Scott Barish didn't need a visual representation of how his week had gone, but he got it anyway late in the third quarter of Friday's Class 1A semifinal against Pocomoke.

His team was making a charge, and David Miner was streaking toward a layup that would have cut a 22-point deficit to 10 late in the third quarter.

But just as Miner got to the ball under the basket, he wiped out and lost the ball out of bounds. The Warriors responded with a 3-pointer to regain momentum, and finished off an 82-58 victory at Cole Field House that ended the Rebels' quest for their second state championship.

"It's just the luck we've had this week with everything that's happened with us," Barish said. "We look like we've got something good going, and then something just takes our feet out from under us.

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"This just hasn't been our week."

Seven days ago, it seemed to be the Rebels' time. That changed Monday, when point guard Domonique Richmond was suspended for his arrest on two drug-related counts. South said it would go on without him.

In the beginning Friday, it went down in flames.

Pocomoke (24-2) unleashed tough full-court pressure on the Rebels' now-inexperienced ballhandlers, jumping to a 12-4 lead in the game's first 3 1/2 minutes.

"It's the frailty of youth," South coach Bob Starkey said. "You get in a stressful situation, you just revert to instinct. We were nervous, and with the adjustments, we weren't quick at all."

South (24-2) righted itself with two baskets, but the Warriors countered with a strong rebounding presence in TyRon Northam and torched the Rebels in transition on the way to a 40-20 lead at the break.

"We came out of the locker room with a great attitude," South forward Shannon Suttle said. "And then we just fell off."

"We were tentative in the beginning," Barish said. "With Domonique, we didn't have a floor general out there and no one took over fast enough. It took us a while to figure out where we were supposed to be, and (Pocomoke) played well, too."

With virtually nothing left to lose, the Rebels - as they have done all season - opened the third quarter on a tear. Miner hit a pair of 3s, Suttle's 15-foot jumper was unstoppable, and their 2-3 zone was forcing turnovers.

A Miner bucket in transition made it 54-42 with 1:17 left in the third, and Miner tipped a Pocomoke pass and batted it downcourt to himself.

Miner broke away from the pack and seemed to have everything under control, until his right foot completely went out from under him. His desperation save attempt was futile. As the ball rolled out of bounds, the Rebels' chances followed.

"I saw him on the runout and we'd have brought it down to (10)," Suttle said. "I thought we could get our heads together and get back again, but I guess that just didn't happen."

Pocomoke ran a set play through four screens that unleashed JoVon Schoolfield in the corner, and he hit a 3 for a 15-point game. Tony Tull's steal and lay-in at the third quarter buzzer merely added insult to injured pride.

"We didn't say much at halftime," Barish said. "We all had to look inside and each one of us had to dig deep and do what we could. We did all that, but we just ran out of gas."

Suttle finished with 16 points on 8-for-10 shooting and Miner added a team-high 19. But a great season capped by a long week ended with a long day.

"It didn't matter," Suttle said. "We proved we're still a great team today."

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