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Lions' Morris saves best for last

Brian Morris scores on the game's final shot to help Walkersville stun North Hagerstown.

Brian Morris scores on the game's final shot to help Walkersville stun North Hagerstown.

January 10, 2003|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

Walkersville may have had No. 5 North Hagerstown under foot for 31 minutes, 57 seconds Thursday night, but the Lions' fate sat in the hands of senior Brian Morris for the final three seconds.

Morris made the most of the opportunity, hitting a 16-foot jump shot at the buzzer to give Walkersville a stunning 44-43 upset of North in the Hubs' gym.

"It felt good," Morris said. "It was definitely the biggest shot of my career."

Three seconds.

Morris received a pass in the right corner and dribbled twice to the right elbow of the key with the Lions trailing by a point.

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Two seconds. He bounded into the air and released his left-handed jump shot.

One second.

Swish.

It's a shot that was heard around the Monocacy Valley Athletic League. The Hubs' loss gives Middletown - the only unbeaten team in league play - a two-game lead on the rest of the MVAL.

Despite a lackadaisical overall effort from North (6-2, 3-2) - which was forced into a halfcourt game for all but a brief stretch in the third quarter and consistently launched long-range jumpers early in possessions - almost managed to steal a victory against the Lions (6-4, 5-3).

Trailing 42-38, North caught a break when Walkersville's Chris Hannigan missed the front end of a 1-and-1 opportunity with 23 seconds left. Purnell Spruce rushed down the floor and drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing over Morris, cutting the lead to one.

Following a Hub timeout, Walkersville was called for a 5-second inbounds violation. On North's inbounds play, Spruce found Bernard Harris cutting down the lane for a left-handed layup and a foul, giving North a 43-42 lead with Harris on the line.

"They picked one of our guys off on a screen and we didn't switch," Walkersville coach Bruce Zimmerman said. "It may have been our poorest possession all night."

Walkersville rebounded Harris' missed foul shot before play was stopped with eight seconds remaining. When play resumed, the Lions inbounded to David Barry, who dribbled down the right side before passing to Morris, who took it from there.

"I felt like I had to redeem myself after (Spruce) hit the 3-pointer in my face," Morris said.

"Nine out of 10 of our games have come down to the last two minutes," said Zimmerman, whose Lions have lost to Middletown by two and Smithsburg by four this season. "Every game is a nailbiter."

"We didn't deserve to win the ballgame, but once we got the lead, it would have been nice to win," North coach Tim McNamee said.

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