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Boys hoops: Rebels' intangibles entangle Blazers

January 11, 2012|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com
  • Clear Spring's Sam Elwood is double-teamed by South Hagerstown's Michael Hill, left, and Devon King (35) in the second quarter of Wednesday night's MVAL Antietam boys basketball game
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

CLEAR SPRING — It was one of those nights where Ryan Grabill could only stuff his hands in his pockets and shrug his shoulders.

His Clear Spring Blazers boys basketball team was defeated 68-51 by South Hagerstown in an MVAL Antietam matchup on Wednesday, mainly by intangibles that were out of Grabill’s control.

South used speed, size and athleticism while the Blazers took what is becoming a traditional — and annoying — second-quarter siesta in Clear Spring’s fourth straight loss after opening the season with seven wins.

“They have so much length inside and they control everything,” Grabill said, shaking his head. “It’s tough to overcome because they are so athletic. I can’t coach that.”

The Rebels (9-2, 6-0) used trapping defense and lightning-quick shot blocking to mess with the Blazers mentally. South held Clear Spring (7-4, 3-3) without a field goal during a 20-1 run over 10:32 — which included a 16-1 second quarter — to take control of the game.

“The second quarter has been killing us lately,” Grabill said. “In the last three games, we allowed 28 points to Brunswick and 33 to Smithsburg before today. All four of our losses, we have had trouble in the second quarter.”

Luckily, all those South attributes are something Rebels coach Kevin Naylor can — and is able to — coach.

South’s quickness and defense got into the heads of Clear Spring’s shooters, who were missing shots without a Rebel in sight.

And that was when the Blazers got a shot at the basket. Other times, the Rebels collected steals to start the transition. In fact, 13 of South’s 16 first-half baskets were layups, including all eight baskets in the second quarter.

“We had the size advantage and we had to take advantage of it,” Naylor said. “Fortunately, this year we have been the bigger team. We have been trying to trap on every pass and then rotate to the next available pass. Once you get a good trap going, (the opposing team) doesn’t know where to pass.”

South looked like it was going to end the game in the first quarter as it jumped out to a 14-6 lead. Clear Spring used a 10-2 run over 4:18 to tie the game at 16. In the process, Nick Hill scored a layup with 1:21 to go in the quarter, which was the Blazers’ final hoop until the 6:38 mark of the third quarter.

The Rebels used Devonte Morel’s three-point play to take a 19-16 lead at the end of the first quarter. They opened the second quarter on a steal and layup by Carlton Davis, right before Mikey Sensenbaugh hit a free throw with 5:05 remaining in the half for Clear Spring’s only point of the period.

South scored the final 14 points of the half for a 35-17 advantage at the intermission.

The two teams played evenly in the second half, but South’s lead grew to as many as 21 until Clear Spring started to reel in the Rebels.

“Clear Spring played pretty well,” Naylor said. “We were able to pressure the ball on them until they figured us out. Defensive pressure has been the flavor for us all year. We will keep riding it until someone figures it out.”

South featured a balanced attack, as five of the six players who scored finished in double figures. Michael Hill and Morel finished with 14 points each, while Devon King added 12.

Nick Hill led Clear Spring with 16.

“I don’t believe in moral victories, but we competed and played hard until the final horn,” Grabill said. “We got until Feb. 25 to get everything right. If we keep playing hard every time, we will be tough to get out come the playoffs.”

JV: South Hagerstown, 61-50 (SH: Johnson 20; CS: Henesy 22).

SOUTH HAGERSTOWN (9-2, 6-0)
Davis 10, Freeman 7, Hill 14, King 12, Morle 14, Redman 11. Totals 17 12-15 68.
CLEAR SPRING (7-4, 3-3)
Elwood 7, Hill 16, Weaver 2, Aaron 9, Brant 2, Miller 8, Sensenbaugh 7. Totals 22 3-6 51.
South Hagerstown    19    16    14    19    —    68
Clear Spring    16    1    15    19    —    51
3-point goals — South Hagerstown 2 (Freeman, Hill), Clear Spring 4 (Hill 2, Elwood, Aaron).

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