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South seniors finish careers with disheartening loss

March 13, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Seven South Hagerstown seniors finished their high school careers without accomplishing what so few players are able to do - end the season with a win.

David Miner, Jesse Gutekunst, Josh Bussard, Charlie Johnson, Guyon McNabb, Danny Lynn and Jonathan Lewis suffered through another bitter trip to the state tournament as the Rebels dropped a 56-52 decision to Lansdowne on Friday in the Maryland Class 2A semifinals at the University of Maryland's Comcast Center.

"We all feel bad about tonight," said coach Bob Starkey, who directed the Rebels to a third consecutive state tournament berth. "We won the league championship, David set scoring records and, I think, we captured the hearts of Hagerstown."

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Starkey will miss his senior players, many of whom will trade their basketball shorts for a baseball uniform.

"They've been a fun, loose group of kids," Starkey said. "They enjoyed one another ... even with the yelling at times."

Miner, who was 6 of 25 shooting and finished with 15 points, was understandably low-key like the rest of his teammates.

"It hurts to play a last game like this," Miner said. "We were nervous ... We didn't want to lose. The last two years, losing here has been a real disappointment, but it was a great year as a team. The South Rebels can't forget about the year."

Gutekunst, South's main cog in the game with 16 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots, attributed nervousness to a lack of knowledge.

"We didn't know too much about Lansdowne and what to expect," Gutekunst said. "We weren't even shooting well in warmups, but the season with my teammates has been so much fun and I have loved playing for Coach Starkey."

Notes: Gene Johnson went scoreless until the 2:10 mark of the third period when he followed up on a missed 3-pointer by Miner. He ended with eight points.

Bussard had eight points and Charlie Johnson added five in their final games as seniors at South.

Sidelines: For the second consecutive year, officials at the state tournament are using a specially designed mechanism that gives them control of the game clock.

Each official has an instrument pack, about the size of a battery pack, hooked to his pants. The pack is connected with a microphone that hooks inside the officials' shirt. When the whistle is blown, the game clock automatically stops.

When play resumes, the official putting the ball into play has one of his fingers on the pack and pushes a button to activate the clock.

"We used it here last year and this year all of the Division I schools in college basketball are using it the entire season," said Alex Moyseenko of Hagerstown, who was in attendance as an observer of the game officials for the state.

The only Washington County official working the state tournament was Harry Turner, who worked the Friendly-J.M. Bennett in the other Class 2A semifinal.

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