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Turnovers force Rebels to come apart at seams

February 24, 2007|by TIM KOELBLE

South Hagerstown point guard Steve Burnett hit an 8-foot jumper in the lane on the first shot of the game and the Rebels held a quick 2-0 lead over Rockville in the Maryland Class 2A West opener on Friday night.

It wasn't long after when the Rebels began to unravel

After Alvin Roberson scored off a rebound to tie the game at 4-4, the Rebels (8-14) found themselves in a nuphill battle that became too steep and Rockville (11-10) left town with a 62-55 victory.

An 18-percent shooting effort translated into a 13-4 deficit by the end of the first quarter, which started an eight-minute scoreless gap bridging into the second quarter. It was the first sign of trouble for the Rebels.

"We got in an early panic and got frustrated," said South coach Dennis Seman. "We came out hellfire instead of relaxing."

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Rockville made a living off South turnovers in the second period, converting each of five mistakes for 10 total points on the way to a 23-16 halftime lead.

"At the half we talked about how South was beating South," said Seman.

Even though the Rebels were outdone in the turnover department by Rockville, South was left out in the cold and unable to capitalize like its counterpart.

"Every time we got a turnover, we couldn't create an opportunity," said Seman. "We settled for the first option, and (Rockville) overplayed us on the first option."

The Rams, who held a 41-31 lead entering the final period behind an eight-point effort from Sean Canahaute, appeared to right themselves before South threw down a fullcourt press. The pressure resulted in three straight turnovers and baskets by Sequan Baker, Jamie Brunson and Chris Jackson to whittle Rockville's lead to 47-42 with 3:35 left.

However, Rockville answered with a quick 8-2 run for a 55-43 lead by repeatedly hammering the backboards for second efforts as three of the four baskets came on second shots.

The Rebels managed to get the deficit to 60-54 with 25 seconds left with a five-point flurry by Muzamill Bhutto.

Turnover numbers were deceiving as Rockville had 27 compared to 17 for South. But Rockville's ability to convert was a huge difference as the Rams scored 26 points off South mistakes. Conversely, the Rebels only managed to put 16 on the board off Rockville's miscues.

The Rams controlled South on the boards, 43-24, surprising Seman, who had scouted Rockville earlier in the week and had seen a report that the Rams averaged 21 rebounds a game.

"Their guards were able to look over ours because of their height," said Seman. "And coming in I didn't think it, but (Rockville) proved to me that they had bigger and stronger kids. They capitalized on their opportunities and we didn't."

Bhutto ended with 16 points in his final game for South, including three 3-pointers. Burnett and Brunson each contributed 12, while Roberson had nine points and led the Rebels with 10 rebounds.

Joe York led a trio of double-figure scorers for Rockville with 15 while Canahaute and Josh Myers each had 14. Myers had 11 rebounds.

While Rockville shot 50 percent (23-46), South did manage to raise its overall effort to 39.6 on 21 of 53.

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