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Bhutto makes sure nothing discolors South

January 23, 2007|by TIM KOELBLE

Muhzammil Bhutto, South Hagerstown's only starting senior, didn't want any last chances of beating rival North Hagerstown to vanish in his final season.

So, Bhutto went out and scored 18 points and pulled down 11 rebounds as the Rebels fought off their neighbors 61-56 on Monday night in an MVAL Antietam skirmish.

"I can't describe the feeling of finally beating North," said Bhutto. "Now you can walk through the halls at South and when someone asks if you beat North, we can say 'Yes.'"

The South victory was the first over North (5-8, 4-2) under third-year coach Dennis Seman. The last win was on Feb. 24, 2004, during the David Miner era under former coach Bob Starkey.

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"We had a good feeling coming in that we could win," said Bhutto, who single-handedly kept South in the game during the third period with 11 of the Rebels' 18 points to grab a 46-44 lead.

South (4-9, 4-3) emerged from a 50-50 tie when Bhutto put in both ends of a one-and-one with 3:36 to play.

The lead eventually grew to 56-52 when James Brunson, celebrating his 17th birthday, hit two free throws with 2:25 left and the Hubs could not get any closer. Brunson scored all eight of his points in the final stanza.

South's fans were cheering loudly when Alvin Roberson rebounded a miss by North's Tyrone Wheeler, hit the outlet pass to Chris Jackson who found Shane Santell in position to be fouled on a shot. Santell nailed both free throws for a 59-54 cushion with 9.2 seconds remaining.

"I really think both teams are better than the records indicate," said Seman. "Brunson had some clutch shots down the stretch and Alvin, well, he's been big every night for us."

Brunson and Roberson had eight rebounds each as the Rebels enjoyed a 38-27 advantage on the boards, including a 13-7 margin on the offensive glass. Roberson also had nine points and diminutive starting guard Stevie Burnett responded with 12 points, including a pair of 3s.

South jumped on North quickly with a 16-5 lead after one quarter before the Hubs regained their composure behind Wheeler, who ended with 21 points and nine rebounds.

Wheeler scored the first five points of the second period until Burnett responded with a trey before Seman immediately called a timeout for the Rebels.

"We were having problems with North's 1-3-1 zone defense and I needed to correct it," said Seman. "I've got five timeouts in a game and I'm going to use them."

The timeout looked like a momentum-killer for the Rebels. North took advantage to take a 20-19 lead with 2:53 left in the half as Ray Hoy hit three straight free throws.

James Jackson added to the lead with a basket and two free throws by Wheeler. The Rebels refocused with Roberson hitting a goal and Chris Jackson draining a 3-pointer for a 25-24 South lead.

The teams were tied 28-28 at the half.

"We had a wakeup call and got our legs in the second quarter," said North coach Tim McNamee. "We finally found a right combination and started to play. We made a good run back at them, had some tough calls, especially on the offensive boards.

"It's not that we didn't have our chances because we did. The ball just didn't roll our way. We played three good quarters."

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