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Boys Basketball: Road unkind to 'Cats

February 28, 2013|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

SYKESVILLE, Md. — Williamsport boys basketball coach Scott Mowbray was gracious in defeat.

“(South Carroll) used that half-court, run-and-jump defense against us,” he said. “We played a heck of a defensive game. I’m proud of our guys. Our problem today was on offense.”

Anything else after that might have been bleeped — or whistled — out.

The Wildcats came out on the short end of a tightly called game — being held to a total of five points in the even quarters — on Thursday as South Carroll pulled away for a 43-27 victory in the Maryland Class 2A West quarterfinals.

It was a game that the Wildcats could have controlled but got a painful reminder of how difficult it can be to win on the road. The opponent’s defenses — and intangibles — have a habit of dictating the direction of games.

On Thursday, the Cavaliers (16-7) got the momentum and then took the game with defense.

“That jump-and-run defense made our offense start a lot higher up on the court and opened the floor,” Mowbray said. “That made us move at a little faster pace than we would have liked and took away our set offense. Then we made some bad decisions … and we don’t make the best decisions sometime.”

It was a rough night for the Wildcats, who endured 21 fouls and two technicals in the game — the first of which changed the complexion the game. But the game was ultimately decided as Williamsport managed just one point in the second quarter and four in the fourth.

Williamsport took a 5-0 lead out of the gate and had South Carroll on its heels. Sterling Christy and Riley Arnone hit jumpers and Nick Johnson hit a free throw for the quick burst over the first 2:13 of the game.

On the defensive side, South Carroll had five missed shots and four turnovers in its first nine possessions. The Cavaliers won the game while scoring just 11 baskets, but added 20 of 27 from the foul line — including their last 11 points of the game.

“We came out big and were able to get anything we wanted,” Mowbray said. “We were up 5-0 and were dictating the pace of the game.”

But suddenly, the Cavaliers were back in the game at the 2:18 mark of the first quarter. Ryan Crabtree followed through on a block attempt, sending Matt Breno to the ground after a 3-point shot. Mowbray protested the call and received a quick technical foul.

South Carroll was at the line, shooting five foul shots that could have immediately tied the game. Gavin McTavish hit the technical shots, but Breno hit only two of his three attempts to make it 5-4. The Cavs got the ball back after the technical, leading to a McTavish layup that turned the trip into a six-point play and a 6-5 advantage.

Crabtree hit a 3 at the end of the quarter to give Williamsport an 8-6 lead.

Arnone hit a foul shot to open the second quarter to put Williamsport up 9-6 at the 6:10 mark. Tyler Alcio answered with a three-point play that tied the game at 4:21, which led to a South Carroll timeout.

The Cavs came out with the halfcourt trap and changed the rest of the game.

South Carroll scored the last nine points of the half for an 18-9 advantage at the intermission and never looked back.

“They picked up the defensive intensity and we couldn’t get into the right spots,” Mowbray said. “We hadn’t seen that defense all year and didn’t work on it. We were flying by the seat of our pants.”

Williamsport tried valiantly to come back, resorting to a risk-taking 1-3-1 defense to get back within 28-23 after three quarters. The ‘Cats were within 26-21 with two chances to move within three points of the lead, but failed to capitalize.

“We gambled defensively, but didn’t score,” Mowbray said. “Then they got a bucket and changed it all. We hit some dry spells. The defense was great, but we had trouble with the offense tonight.”

South Carroll scored the first six points of the fourth quarter — the last two by McTavish at the line with 5:08 remaining to start the Cavaliers’ foul-shooting practice. Williamsport was forced to start fouling after falling behind 34-23.

Christy scored on a spinning drive with 4:09 remaining, before scoring again with seven seconds remaining for Willliamsport’s only points in the fourth quarter.

McTavish led the Cavs with 16 points, while Alcio finished with 13. Christy was the only Wildcat in double figures with 10.

“I’m proud of the season and the effort these guys gave,” Mowbray said. “I hope they look back and appreciate what they did.”

South Carroll 43, Williamsport 27
WILLIAMSPORT (14-10)
Crabtree 6, Arnone 6, Christy 10, Johnson 3, Seibert 2. Totals 8 9-14 27.
SOUTH CARROLL (16-7)
Alcio 13, McTavish 16, Bremo 5, Cook 2, Quinn 2, Breno 5. Totals 11 20-27 43.
Williamsport    8    1    14    4    —    27
South Carroll    6    12    10    15    —    43
3-point goals — Williamsport 2 (Crabtree 2), South Carroll 1 (Bremo). Fouled out — Arnone. Technical fouls — Williamsport 2 (Bench, Johnson).

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