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Boys Basketball: Rebels take steps in right direction

December 20, 2012|By TIM KOELBLE | koelble@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — South Hagerstown’s intensity level was much improved for Thursday’s encounter with unbeaten Tuscarora.

Unfortunately for the Rebels, however, the outcome was the same as the Titans tacked on a 70-63 loss, the second straight for South following Tuesday’s upset loss to Williamsport.

“We had no effort (Tuesday), but we came out improved and I’m happy how we came back and played,” South coach Kevin Naylor said, despite the loss that left the Rebels at 3-3.

The focus now is similar to a year ago when South lost its first two games and then reeled off 21 straight. The Rebels will look to start another streak at next week’s North Hagerstown mixer.

“We have to realize after this week’s losses that we can be beat at any time,” Naylor said.

Tuscarora (5-0) remained unbeaten, using strength in the rebounding department with a taller team across the board, along with a half-court offense that pressured South all night.

South could only fault itself at the beginning of the game, missing four easy layups off perfect passes. That was an indicator of its shooting night, hitting 26 of 64 for 41 percent, many misses from inside five feet of the rim.

To South’s credit, the Rebels came back twice from 10-point deficits when it looked doomed.

Down 28-18 midway into the second quarter, the Rebels charged back to within 35-32 at the break as Xavier Freeman scored five points down the stretch.

After taking a 38-35 lead to open the third quarter, South went scoreless as Tuscarora reeled off eight straight points for a 43-38 lead. The lead eventually reached 10 again at 50-40 after a putback by Mykell Barber with 1:15 left in the third quarter.

Behind six points from Devon King and four from Drequan Johnson, South got within 54-52 with under six minutes to play.

The critical play of the game came with 2:59 remaining when Tuscarora missed two layups, but 6-foot-6 senior star Lamell Washington was in the right spot for a putback, foul and conventional three-point play for a 61-57 lead.

South responded with three turnovers and two missed shots, while Tuscarora took advantage to restore a 10-point lead at 67-57.

“We weren’t disciplined in the halfcourt,” Naylor said. “We would pass the ball one, two times and then done.”

Washington was a thorn for the Rebels with a game-high 21 points, including 11 of 16 at the line as he constantly drove inside and pounded the boards.

King matched Washington with 21 points of his own, his personal season high.

Getting a start for the first time this year, 6-5 junior Kevin Henson responded with 14 points.

“We’re working with (Henson) while he learns what we are trying to do on the floor,” Naylor said. “He can be a big help as long as he focuses on the game.”

Freeman added 12 points for the Rebels.

It is the first time since games on Jan. 5 and 21 of 2010 that South has lost two consecutive home games.

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Tuscarora 70, South Hagerstown 63
TUSCARORA (5-0)
Carney 5, Findly 11, McDonald 10, Anderson 6, Washington 21, Naylor 3, Kidd 3, Barber 8, Magee 3. Totals 25 15-23 70.
SOUTH HAGERSTOWN (3-3)
Freeman 12, Johnson 4, Hill 6, White 6, Henson 14, King 21. Totals 27 8-11 63.
Tuscarora    13    22    15    20    —    70
South    15    17    14    17    —    63
3-point goals — Tuscarora 5 (Carney, Naylor, Magee, Barber, Kidd), South 1 (Henson).

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