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Miner, all Miner

Held scoreless in the third quarter, South star David Miner came alive in the fourth period to lead the Rebels past Clear Spring

Held scoreless in the third quarter, South star David Miner came alive in the fourth period to lead the Rebels past Clear Spring

January 18, 2004|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

In most circles, possession is nine-10ths of the law. But to David Miner, it's 100 percent of competition.

When it came down to the fourth period of Friday's game with Clear Spring, South Hagerstown's senior guard got greedy. Suddenly it was "My house, my quarter and my game."

Miner took over in the fourth quarter, scoring 12 of South's first 14 points, as the Rebels pulled away to a 78-64 victory over the tenacious Blazers.

Clear Spring held Miner scoreless in the third quarter after he had scored 23 of his game-high 35 in the first half. For the last eight minutes, Miner was the major factor for South down the stretch.

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"I just said, 'This is my quarter,'" Miner said. "I didn't play up to par in the third quarter. The guys on the team looked over at me and told me to take it over in the fourth quarter."

The Blazers closed with a 7-0 run to end the third quarter to move within 49-43. Miner used his speed and aggressive style to drive to the hoop, almost challenging the Blazers to cut him off at the pass.

He started an 11-2 run in the first 2:12 of the quarter as South pulled to a 60-45 advantage. The signature play of the flurry came when Miner grabbed the rebound off Josh Bussard's missed foul shot to complete a three-point play and followed it in for a four-point possession.

"It's Miner time," South coach Bob Starkey said. "It was all David taking it over by himself. He just said he was going to take it over right there."

It was the final act in what was supposed to be a showdown between the top two scorers in the Tri-State area. Miner was the leader at 32.8 points per game while Clear Spring center Alex Tyler entered with a 23.6 mark.

The battle never really materialized, mostly because Tyler was whistled for three first-half fouls and spent more than half of the game's first 16 minutes on the bench. Tyler managed 13 points, but was bothered by South's 2-3 zone defense and the Rebels' taller front line.

"Losing Alex early hurt us," Clear Spring coach Don Harnish said. "He got the two quick fouls and I gambled by leaving him in there and he got the third. that hurt. Our guys look to Alex to be the leader on the team and that's tough when he is sitting over there on the bench."

Miner coaxed the third foul out of Tyler with 4:31 remaining in the first half, jusy 28 seconds after Clear Spring's center returned to the game. Miner broke away on a fast break, planted and jumped backwards into Tyler causing contact.

Even without Tyler, Clear Spring scrapped and stayed within striking distance. Guards Cody Beard and Mike Snyder, who finished with 20 and 13 points, hit the tough shots to keep the Blazers from being blown out and within 41-29 at the half.

"We were throwing up too many longer shots too fast and too early," Harnish said. "(The Rebels) ar ea good team and they have some big horses and they were lobbing it over the top of us. We just didn't do what we wanted to do."

While Miner was the focal point, South forward Gene Johnson had a nice sideshow of his own going with Tyler out of the middle of Clear Spring's defense.

The Rebels tried to lob Johnson some passes on the block to allow him to make power moves against smaller defenders. He finished with 17 points and filled in admirably when Miner wasn't scoring.

"He's averaging 17 points a game and is an offensive force in there," Starkey said. "We have double big guys in there ... he could have scored 30 tonight."

Johnson added 14 rebounds and 6-8 Jesse Gutekunst had eight points and 12 rebounds while acting as the primary defender against Tyler.

"Tyler is the second-leading scorer in the county and you have to be aware of him. We ran kind of a different 2-3 zone and Jesse spearheaded it," Starkey said. "It was designed to take Tyler out of the game and it gave us the chance to reach back and get on their guards."

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