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Roberson hits winner for Rebels

February 27, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

CLEAR SPRING - Tuesday night's regular-season finale between South Hagerstown and Clear Spring modeled the basketball adage of leaving it all on the floor.

Both teams now must hope they have a little something left for the postseason.

Alvin Roberson drove to the hoop for the winning layup with 18 seconds left and the Rebels survived a last-ditch effort by Clear Spring for a 73-72 victory, spoiling Senior Night for the Blazers.

The Rebels inbounded the ball with 22 seconds left and guard Steve Burnett handed the ball to Roberson. Without hesitation, he sliced to the hoop from the right wing and laid it in with his left hand for the go-ahead basket - the last of his 12 points.

"We just couldn't lose this game," Roberson said. "Stevie gave me the ball, I saw a lane and took it."

Out of a timeout, Clear Spring senior Keith Gilchrist dribbled into the lane but was tied up and had to force up a contested shot from 12 feet. The rebound landed in the waiting arms of South's Jason Chase as time expired.

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"We couldn't have asked for anything better than that," said Clear Spring coach Mark Shives. "(Gilchrist) has been our stud all year. We kind of screwed the play up a little bit and he just got caught in the middle."

South was on the better end of 18 lead changes in the game - eight in the fourth quarter. The biggest lead of the game topped out at nine points and it was a one-possession game for all but 1:38 of the second half.

Chris Jackson and Burnett hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Rebels a 69-64 lead with 2:13 remaining. Clear Spring quickly answered and later cut the gap to 71-69 on a pair of free throws by sophomore Joel Rowe - just brought up from junior varsity - with 1:27 left.

After the Rebels missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Gilchrist hit a basket in transition and drew a foul to tie the game. He hit the foul shot to give Clear Spring a 72-71 lead with 34 seconds left.

Naylor used a 30-second timeout to diagram the go-ahead play.

"If they ran a man defense we were going to spread the floor and let (Roberson) take his guy," said Rebels coach Kevin Naylor. "Depending on where (Clear Spring) stopped him, we were going to kick it out. But they didn't. Not many teams have a guy that can defend him."

Clear Spring had an even tougher time trying to defend the perimeter as South drained 10 of 22 shots from beyond the arc. Burnett hit five treys and finished with a game-high 25, while Jackson nailed four for all of his 12 points.

"It's something that we don't want to live and die by, but it happens," Naylor said. "Sometimes our guards can get sticky feet out there and I keep telling them we're going to die by it at some point. It's nice to know that we have guys that can hit them if we ever need it."

The edge from long range helped the Rebels offset a decisive disadvantage from the foul line. The Blazers hit 23 of 32 free throws, while South went just 3-for-7. But the aggressive defense that helped send Clear Spring to the charity stripe paid off as it resulted in 24 Blazers turnovers.

"We've been having a lot of lapses, but I thought we improved a lot of that," Shives said. "There were some times we made some poor decisions and maybe should have pulled (the ball) out. South just kept throwing athletes out there at us."

Roberson had five steals to go with seven rebounds, Corey Shank also had seven rebounds and Jackson had five assists for the Rebels.

Gilchrist scored 10 of his 15 points in the first quarter to help the Blazers keep pace in the first half. He added four assists and four steals, Cody Englehart had 15 points and nine rebounds, Kyle Crist added 13 points and Brett Turner had nine rebounds.

Both teams must quickly regroup for first-round playoff matchups this weekend. The Rebels host Clarksburg on Friday and Clear Spring travels to Catoctin on Saturday.

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