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Johnson stays together at Combine

February 21, 2003|by BILL STERNER / Staff Correspondent

WARFORDSBURG, Pa. - It was a simple case of the bad news and the really bad news for Turkeyfoot coach Sam Collins and his Rams in the opening round of the PIAA District 5 Class A playoffs with Southern Fulton.

The bad news was Collins knew his Rams could not keep up with the Indians' sleek offensive attack, so he decided to keep the Rams packed in a tight 2-3 zone defense in the first half.

And that, as it turned out, was really bad news. Southern Fulton, District 5's top seed, hit an uncanny 80 percent of its shots from the perimeter in the first half Thursday to easily coast to a 79-29 victory.

Will Whiteside led the Indians with 16 points but Brock Flowers and Tim Keebaugh shot out the lights early to leave the Rams in the dark.

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"When you can shoot the ball like that, you certainly make it easy on yourself." Southern Fulton coach Kent Hendershot said. "That may have looked easy, but I am never quick to say we played at the top of our game."

The Indians' performance was close to the top rung of the ladder, even by Hendershot's conservative standards.

Southern Fulton (19-6) put together three double-digit runs in the first half to roll to a 47-13 halftime lead as Flowers and Keebaugh's long range proficiency cleared the way for Whiteside's power moves inside late in the half.

The Indians took out the Rams' legs by closing out the half with a 24-1 run.

"We knew they had trouble with footspeed and taking care of the ball coming in," Hendershot said. "But a zone defense always looks bad when a team can shoot the ball. But, we played very well defensively."

By the second quarter, the Indians were platooning two full teams in and out of the game every few minutes, but Southern Fulton was able to maintain the suffocating defense to push the lead to 41-points in the final minute of the third quarter.

A pair of Jim Barlow free throws put the Indians up 64-21 early in the fourth quarter, prompting Hendershot to clear his bench.

"We continued to execute well even with the big lead," Hendershot said. "I think that is a key to playing well. You have to do everything as good as you can all the time. We know it gets tougher from here. I know these guys are already thinking about the next one."

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