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Saints show what's inside to beat Rebels

January 14, 2009|By BOB PARASILITI

SAINT JAMES -- Basketball games are weighted by baskets, rebounds and steals.

Those are what put the numbers on the scoreboard.

But St. James called on a different set of factors Tuesday to pull out a 57-50 win over South Hagerstown.

"I tell our guys all the time that adversity brings out the character of a man," said St. James coach Mike Brooks. "They showed their character today."

It was a lot of things that don't show up on the scoreboard that made the difference for the Saints (6-7). It was team basketball, structure, aggressive play and, well, character.

The Saints took it to the Rebels by forcing the issue with drives to the basket to create situations and draw shooting fouls. South outscored St. James from the floor -- 20-12 in baskets, including 2-1 from 3-point range -- but the Saints were in total control at the line, hitting on 32 of 42 attempts, while the Rebels managed just 9 of 12.

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The main reason was St. James took the ball to the basket, while South had problems penetrating and worked around the perimeter.

"This was a game with two teams that concentrated their efforts to playing tough defense and rebounding," Brooks said. "I told the guys to focus on attacking the front of the rim."

The two teams battled through the first half with South holding a 13-8 lead after the first quarter and a 24-23 advantage at the half as they battled through six ties and seven lead changes.

St. James' Mike Russ quietly scored 12 of his game-high 27 in the first half, while Jason Chase scored six to lead South.

The Rebels came out organized in the second half with an opening 8-0 burst in the first two minutes, keyed by four points by Antoine Malone.

Brooks called a timeout that turned out to be a half-minute gutcheck and the decisive pause in the game.

"I called time but didn't yell at them or talk Xs and Os," Brooks said. "I talked about heart and character and going out to protect the home court. They responded and we went out and outscored them by 16 the rest of the way."

St. James went on a 12-2 run to take a 35-34 lead with Russ scoring seven. The teams traded the lead until the Saints closed with a 6-4 run to take a 43-41 lead at the end of the third quarter.

The Saints continued to attack the basket in the fourth quarter, especially after South reached its 10th foul with 4:47 to go. St. James only scored two baskets in the final eight minutes but added 10 foul shots to ice the game. Meanwhile, the defense -- anchored by 6-foot-5 Stephan Dunbar -- made it difficult for South to get to the basket.

"We not only got to the line, but we scored when we got there," Brooks said. "Getting there and scoring are two different things. Stephan Dunbar was big for us with 13 rebounds and five blocks. He was the difference maker."

South tried to get back as Malone led the way with 14 of the Rebels' last 16 points to finish with 22 points and 10 rebounds, but there was little help.

"(St. James) flat out outplayed us," said South coach Kevin Naylor. "They have kids who want to play. They are a better team than we are right now. We practiced well. I was looking forward to this game, but I think the team thought we were going to come in here and get an easy win."

St. James 57, South Hagerstown 50
SOUTH HAGERSTOWN (4-6)

Santell 2, Hoover 5, Malone 22, Provitt 3, Chase 12, Morel 2, Bryant 2, Buchner 2. Totals 20 9-12 50
ST. JAMES (6-7)
Draper 11, Barr 3, Russ 27, Dunbar 5, Zimmerman 8. Totals 12 32-42 57.
South Hagerstown 13 11 17 9 -- 50
St. James 8 15 20 14 -- 57

3-point goals -- South Hagerstown 2 (Hoover, Provitt), St. James 1 (Russ).

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