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Rebels explode on Cavaliers

March 02, 2004|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

The South Hagerstown Rebels are more than just a boys basketball team.

They are a demolition team in shorts.

South has been pure dynamite this season. Detonation is a matter of how long the fuses are. On Monday, it was the six-minute variety as South started the fire with its defense for a 16-0 run midway through the first half that led to a 103-61 destruction of South Carroll in the Maryland Class 2A West quarterfinals.

South's defense was so potent and dominating, it overshadowed a school-record 54-point outing by David Miner.

"When you play with nitroglycerin, it is apt to go off anytime," South coach Bob Starkey said. "We are explosive. It was all defense today. Hey, you don't have to run an offense when you are shooting layups."

This was one of those times when South (21-2) needed the defense to get Miner and the rest of the Rebels started.

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South came out jittery and overhyped for its first playoff game, playing at a faster pace than even it was used to. Miner was out-running his team and forcing passes trying to get the Rebels off to a quick start and it backfired.

"I guess it was a little bit of nerves 'cause of the playoffs," Miner said. "I was kind of in front of everyone and trying to pass too much. I had to slow down and let everyone catch up."

That's when South lowered the boom.

The Rebels extended their 2-3 zone defense to pressure South Carroll's guards near the midcourt line. Miner started intercepting passes on the front line and Gene Johnson and Jesse Gutekunst began to tip them from the backline to turn the Rebels into that offensive powderkeg which has become their trademark.

South Carroll (9-15) closed to within 16-14 on Dan Gerjets' 12-footer with 1:14 to go in the first quarter. From there, South lit the detonation switch and ran off the next 16 points over a 5-minute, 3-second span to take a 32-14 lead that all but ended the game.

"I saw that South Carroll had their big men standing on the blocks," Starkey said. "We decided to put pressure on the guards and have the backline of the defense cheat way up the lane. Jesse started deflecting passes and when you have an octopus like Miner - his hands are so quick - up front, he's so quick and gets steals to get us going."

South collected 21 steals for the game, most leading to breakaway layups - and most of those were by Miner. The Rebels dished out 24 assists to keep the offense moving forward.

Miner added the spark with his hard drives to the basket en route to topping his own record of 50 points, which he has set twice this season. The senior now has 1,739 career points, leaving him 25 short of the mark set by Smithsburg's Colby Bachtell in 1990-93.

Miner will go for the title on Thursday against the winner of tonight's Middletown-Winters Mill game. If Middletown wins, the West semifinal will be played at South.

Miner scored eight points in the first quarter, 18 in the second and 20 in the third before finishing with eight in the final period, when he left the game with 4:15 remaining.

"Coach told us a secret about their offense and we tried to cut off what they do," Miner said. "Our defense is getting better and better every time we play. I think we got in their heads a little. ... The score had a lot to do with it. Our defense was just too good."

Miner added eight steals and seven assists to his total while Wayne Young scored 12 off the bench and Gene Johnson added 11. Ryan Burns led South Carroll, which trailed by as many as 47 points, with 21 points.

"We got our defense up there where (South Carroll doesn't) like it," Starkey said. "We got the guards a little jumpy. We were too hyped in the beginning, but once we got settled in, we were OK."

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