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Looking out for No. 1

South knocks off top-ranked 'Dogs

South knocks off top-ranked 'Dogs

February 08, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Geography was no issue for South Hagerstown boys basketball coach Bob Starkey on Saturday night.

"The fact that they're the No. 1 team in West Virginia, and we spanked them at home," Starkey said of the Rebels' dominating 75-66 victory over Martinsburg, "I guess that means we're the No. 1 team in West Virginia."

Not exactly. But South - currently the No. 2 team in The Herald-Mail poll - could well be five days away from being the new No. 1 after gaining revenge on the current No. 1 Bulldogs for a 64-60 loss at South on Dec. 30.

David Miner - held to a season-low 15 points in the first game with Martinsburg - couldn't be contained the second time, as he attacked the Bulldogs' defense relentlessly for 33 points.

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"We were fired up on the bus ride up. Everybody was thinking about what we had to do," Miner said. "I didn't play too well the first game, and I had to step up and be a team leader, play my game and let the team feed off that."

Gene Johnson used his height and length to score 22 points inside for the Rebels (13-2), who raced out to leads of 20-10 in the first quarter and 35-20 at halftime. South led Martinsburg (11-1) by at least 10 points from the final 5:30 of the first half until Brandon Barrett's 3-pointer with 9 seconds left in the game.

The Rebels shot 29 of 46 from the floor (63 percent) by being aggressive and, for the most part, refusing to settle for outside shots. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs made just 22 of 72 shots (31 percent) - including only seven of 31 shots in the fourth quarter (26 percent) - and made only four of 17 foul shots in the first half (24 percent).

"You've got to be ready to play and ready to go," said Martinsburg coach Dave Rogers, who refused to blame a 15-day layoff for the poor showing. "We just did not do a good job executing, and they did. ... They came in on our turf and put it to us. There's not much we can say."

Miner became reckless at times - he had several of the Rebels' 23 turnovers - but made more than enough eye-popping plays to compensate, including the play of the game when, after Gene Johnson missed a layup off an inbounds pass from Miner on the baseline, Miner came from under the backboard, leapt high to snatch the rebound with his left hand and in one motion jam it back through.

"He does something every game that will amaze me," Starkey said. "He tries enough wild stuff that some things have to click."

"He's a player," Rogers said. "He's got that will to win and you're not going to deny him. He did a great job tonight."

Durrell Johnson had 19 points, Jeff Horst 18 and Nate Sowers 15 for the Bulldogs.

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