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Rebels beaten in state semifinals

March 13, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - All season long, South Hagerstown's boys basketball team left its opponents struggling to play an up-tempo style they couldn't match up against.

Friday night in the Maryland Class 2A semifinals at the University of Maryland-College Park's Comcast Center, it was what Lansdowne kept the Rebels from doing that ultimately ended South Hagerstown's remarkable season.

Lansdowne slowed the pace, kept South Hagerstown from making steals and, in turn, kept the Rebels out of their favored fast-break style. Then the Vikings held South scoreless in the final 3:30 and put away the Rebels late for a 56-52 victory.

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It was a bittersweet ending for senior David Miner, who struggled to a 15-point outing, 20 below his season average. Miner, who had few opportunities to get out in transition, made just 6 of 25 shots - 3 of 11 from 3-point range - and was held to two points in the second half as Lansdowne slowed the pace to a crawl.

"We couldn't get out and run, and that's our big thing," Miner said. "We had a lot of mismatches, we just couldn't get out and run the break like we wanted to."

"I have nothing but praise for David Miner," Rebels coach Bob Starkey said. "I'm sure he'd like to play this game over again. So would I, and so would most of us."

Miner finished his career with 1,815 points to set South and Washington County public schools boys scoring records.

Neither team held more than a five-point lead at any point. Miner's 3-pointer with 2 seconds left in the first half gave the Rebels a 27-24 lead at the break, but Lansdowne (22-4) used a 10-2 run to take a 34-29 lead.

South bounced back for a 9-2 run and a 38-36 lead later in the third quarter, and later took a 52-48 lead with a 14-4 run over the first four-and-a-half minutes of the fourth. After each run, Lansdowne called time out to stop the bleeding.

"We were up a couple times and just couldn't put them out," South's Jesse Gutekunst said.

Lansdowne took a 53-52 lead on John Jarboe's elbow jumper with 2:06 left, and South soon found itself in an unusual position.

With 1:12 left after a Vikings time out, Lansdowne inbounded the ball and played keep-away with the Rebels, who had only two team fouls at the time. It took South 53 seconds to commit five fouls and put Barry Cornish on the line with 19 seconds left.

"We were in our no-foul defense and it worked against us," Starkey said. "We didn't realize (the foul situation) until I jumped up and noticed it."

Cornish - who led Lansdowne with 18 points - made both foul shots, and after Miner missed a 3-pointer at the other end, Greg Brown made his first of two foul shots with 1.4 seconds left to seal the win.

Gutekunst had 16 points and 15 rebounds to lead South (23-3) in his final high school game, but he was the only Rebel to truly shine.

"Jesse did a yeoman's job, but outside of that, everybody had so-so games ... and it's just a bad time to have a so-so game," Starkey said. "We were sluggish, and you never know what will happen when you come to the state tournament, who's going to play (well) and who's going to get their game going."

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