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Rebels profit from losses

March 08, 2011|By TIM KOELBLE | koelble@herald-mail.com
  • South Hagerstown's Andre Pierre drives to the basket against Quince Orchards Andre Gaines during the Rebels' victory last Friday in the Maryland Class 3A West region championship game at South.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — South Hagerstown boys basketball coach Kevin Naylor looked back on a pair of late-season defeats as the “attitude adjustment” his team needed.

It was bad enough the Rebels had blown a 16-point lead on Feb. 8 to rival North Hagerstown, but they turned around and wasted a 17-point lead on Feb 12 in a 55-46 loss to Thomas Johnson.

“We got out of sync at that point,” said Naylor. “After that, I think we quit being a team of individuals.”

Enough so that South has defeated seven straight foes to reach the Maryland Class 3A state semifinals on Thursday at 5 p.m. against Centennial (19-6) at the University of Maryland’s Comcast Center.

“After the (TJ) game everyone knew we didn’t want to lose another game,” said sophomore Devon King. “We knew we’d have the chance.”

The Rebels (21-3) gained their 10th appearance in the state tournament with a 54-48 victory over Quince Orchard, in which King, who is averaging 12 points a game, led the team with 20 points.

“That was just another game to win,” said King. ”This one (Thursday) is the big one.”

Centennial comes into the contest on the heels of a 54-51 victory over Atholton, a team that was riding a late-season burst and had 16 losses.

The Eagles are led by 6-foot-3 senior Aaron Adams, who averages 17 points. Keonte Potts, a 5-9 senior guard, averages 13 and 5-9 guard Myelz Ocadiz and 6-3 forward Michael Stefan each score at a nine-point clip.

“We might have a little size and quickness advantage on them,” said Naylor. “But now you throw everything out the window.  You get in the game, take a look at the personnel around you and play the game.”

Offensively, South averages 64 points and Centennial 63. Defensively, the Rebels allow 48 points and Centennial 53.

Andre Pierre, one of the Rebels’ Big Three, leads with a 15.5 scoring average. In addition to King, Rico Provitt brings along a 10.4 mark.

“We’re excited about (the region victory), but now it’s time to get ready for the next game,” said Pierre, who, like all of his teammates, is excited to play on the Comcast floor for the first time.

To prepare for the larger Comcast floor, the Rebels spent two practice nights this week working out at Hagerstown Community College.

“Running the big floor could gas us, but I think we’ll be ready,” said Pierre.

South was picked in the preseason as a possibility to reach the state tournament, but Naylor thought the chance existed even before the first day of practice.

“I took this team the first day of practice and pointed to the state championship banner in the lobby of the gym and told them, ‘There needs to be another,’” said Naylor.

“You always think you are capable but I wouldn’t place any bets,” said Naylor. “I thought we could in four years from when I came here (2007-08 season) because I knew there was talent coming through here.”

Thursday’s other semifinal pairing at 3 p.m. pits Millford Mill Academy against Friendly. Winners return on Saturday at 3 p.m. for the state championship game.

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