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Numbers work against Rebels

December 20, 2003|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

David Miner reached the 1,000-point plateau of his scholastic basketball career a little later than expected.

The unexpected was an early blitz by Fort Hill that catapulted the Sentinels to a 68-64 victory over No. 1 South Hagerstown Friday night.

Fort Hill sent a 15-0 bolt through the Rebels in the first period while Miner went scoreless, leaving South with a huge mountain to climb in the form of a 28-9 deficit with 6:50 still to play in the second quarter.

Overall numbers did not bode well for South.

South was 2-for-23 from behind the 3-point arc. From the free throw stripe, the Rebels were 8 of 16, including 4 of 10 in the last stanza. The Rebels were outrebounded, 43-31.

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"The first quarter was pitiful," South coach Bob Starkey said. "I think the kids might have thought they had an easy game tonight. We dug too much of a hole and trying to come back you use a lot of energy."

Miner eventually got untracked, knocking down 12 points in the second on 6 of 10 shooting after missing six shots in the opening period. His bucket off a steal with 42 seconds remaining in the first half got him to the 1,000-point level.

"I just wasn't patient enough early," Miner said. "I started thinking too much but my teammates told me let the game come to me."

South (2-1) pressured Fort Hill into 13 turnovers in the second half while Miner's 10 points in the third period helped the Rebels get back to within 48-44 with 1:30 remaining.

The Sentinels managed only two field goals but went 12 for 15 from the foul line to keep the Rebels from entertaining any thoughts of a lead, one they never had the entire way.

A goal by Gene Johnson and two Miner free throws left South behind 54-50 but Fort Hill scored 12 of its next 14 points at the line. Two late 3-pointers, one each by Charles Johnson and Guyon McNabb, helped keep the Rebels in touch but to no avail.

"Just too many things went wrong," Starkey said. "The three's are part of the offense, they just didn't drop and then we started getting too careless."

Miner ended with 26 points, Johnson had 17 (also 10 rebounds) and Jesse Gutekunst had 10. Johnson scored only five after halftime and Gutekunst one.

Fort Hill (3-1) coach Todd Eirich, who coached South prior to taking over the Sentinels, felt his defense was a key on Miner.

"We had a good zone in the first half and then we went to a box-in-one on Miner in the second," Eirich said. "This is a big win for us with South moving to 2A and we also have North so we're playing very good teams early."

Kevin Page did not start for Fort Hill but came off the bench and hit for 15 points to lead the Sentinels while toothpick Kenny Harris scored 10 and pulled down 12 rebounds.

Teams will get a crack at one another next weekend at the Fort Hill "How The West Was Won" tournament. The Rebels and Sentinels will meet again on Saturday at Fort Hill.

"This is a tough loss but we'll see them again in a few days," Miner said.

"Smart kids learn from a loss and others don't," Starkey said.

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