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South boys rally behind Burnett's 3s

January 03, 2008|By LARRY YANOS

SMITHSBURG - South Hagerstown's Steve Burnett started 2008 in fine fashion Wednesday night.

The senior guard scored 32 points - including seven 3-point baskets - as the Rebels rallied past host Smithsburg, 55-50.

Burnett was tough the entire evening. He gave South (4-5) a 49-47 lead with a 3-pointer with 2:31 remaining, then put the icing on the cake with four clutch foul shots in the closing 10 seconds.

"I've been in a slump, but I was hitting my shots tonight. It felt good," a smiling Burnett said. "I thought we played hard. They led a good bit of the way but we stayed in there and battled. Give some credit to (assistant coach Eddie Brooks), he rotated the lineup and mixed the defense. I thought it was a good team effort."

Brooks, a South varsity assistant, took control in the absence of Kevin Naylor - who served a one-game suspension for being ejected in the Rebels' previous game.

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"We played hard and Steve was really terrific," Brooks said. "I was pleased the way we competed the entire game. They're a quality opponent."

Smithsburg (1-6) grabbed a 35-31 advantage after three quarters and increased the lead to 45-37 on Josh Conway's two foul shots with 5:20 remaining before South made its final push.

A full-court pressure defense and Barnett's hot shooting - he canned six of his 3s in the second half - finally took its toll on the Leopards.

"We tried a number of defenses in the second half and nothing seemed to work," disappointed Smithsburg coach Eric Gerber said.

"This is the third time this season that we have lost when holding a halftime lead," Gerber added.

Smithsburg's Josh Edwards was outstanding in a losing cause, hitting three 3-pointers in the first half en route to a 22-point performance. Dan Rishell had a fine overall effort, scoring 10 points and adding seven rebounds and four blocks.

Both teams were sharp from the foul line. South hit 11-of-13 free throws and Smithsburg was 16-for-20.

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