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Potomac's role players key in win over Saints

December 11, 2008|By Jack Hill III

The St. James Saints keyed on the two standout players for Potomac School on Thursday night.

In response, the Panthers turned to their role players to pick up the scoring slack, and they executed to defeat St. James 71-61 in a Mid-Atlantic Conference boys basketball game.

"I am extremely proud of my guys' efforts," St. James coach Mike Brooks said. "Potomac School is an extremely talented team. They have two guys, Paul Miller and Brian Freeman, that have already signed letters-of-intent to play with Division I schools. My game plan was that if they were going to beat us, they were going to have to beat us with their role players.

"That is why Potomac School is the favorite to win the conference. They are a complete team that has superstars and role players."

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Freshman point guard Cullen Hamilton had 23 points - including five 3-pointers - and six rebounds for the Panthers (2-1, 1-0). Center Brian Freeman had 14 points, 12 rebounds, five blocks and six assists. Guard Paul Miller had 13 points and Ned Mandel made three 3s. Potomac finished with 10 total 3s.

"They tried to stop a couple of our top guys," Panthers coach Sean Whalen said. "Our younger guys started to step up in the second half. They were just taking the shots that were available.

"I think Cullen Hamilton is one of the best players from our area, if not in the country. He is a pure point guard. He can shoot and he can handle the ball."

"He is only 14 years old and if he can grow a few more inches, he can play at the highest level," Whalen said.

Mike Russ finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds for St. James (3-3, 0-2). Spencer Draper had 10 points and seven assists, while Stephan Dunbar added six rebounds.

The first half was a tight battle. St. James held a 16-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. Potomac came back to tie the score at 31 at halftime.

Mandel's 3-pointer with 20 seconds remaining in the third quarter gave the Panthers a 51-44 lead entering the fourth. He hit another 3 to open the frame, and St. James could not get closer than seven points after that.

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