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Boys Basketball: Early lead gets away from Rebels

March 05, 2013|By TIM KOELBLE | koelble@herald-mail.com

FREDERICK, Md. — South Hagerstown boys basketball coach Kevin Naylor knew an early 11-0 lead would not be good enough against a team like Tuscarora.

He was right.

South Hagerstown jolted top-seeded Tuscarora, taking an 11-0 lead in the first 6:31 of Tuesday’s game. But the Titans roared back to send jolts of their own through the Rebels, beating South 59-46 in the Maryland Class 3A West region semifinals.

The Titans move on to the final Friday against Urbana, a 64-54 winner over Albert Einstein.

Neither team could find the twine in the opening minutes. South missed its first eight shots before Xavier Freeman scored with 3:40 left in the opening quarter. Freeman scored again, and the Rebels were on their way to the shocking lead, before Tuscarora (21-3) finally scored on a goal by Christian McGee with 55 seconds remaining.

McGee scored again, but South led 11-5 at the end of the first period despite its 5-for-16 shooting. Tuscarora hit only 2 of 16, as most shots by either team missed badly.

“You knew the game was never over,” Naylor said after the loss, the Rebels’ second to Tuscarora this year. “Against a team like (Tuscarora), we needed a 50-point lead.”

South (16-9) managed only five points in the second quarter and Tuscarora started finding ways to get inside the Rebels’ zone, a 2-1-2 setup.

The Titans went on a 10-0 run that gave them a 19-13 lead just before halftime, with six points coming from 6-foot-3 Kwaveon McDonald who ended the night with 20 much-needed points.

At the half, South, trailing 21-16, was 7 of 33 shooting and senior Devon King was scoreless.

Tuscarora threatened a major blowout in the third with a 12-0 run that gave them a 36-18 lead with just less than three minutes left.

But the Rebels weren’t rolling over, taking advantage of three Titans turnovers that helped cut the deficit to a manageable 36-30 with 20 seconds left, with King finally getting in the scorebook with six points.

A quick goal beat the buzzer and Tuscarora took a 38-30 lead to the final period.

South was outscored 21-16 in the fourth quarter and never getting closer than 10 in the final two minutes.

“We hustled and were aggressive at the start of the game and it paid off,” Naylor said. “Things just didn’t work out. We played so hard, I think we ran out of gas, and here is Tuscarora running, running fresh legs in and out of the game.”

King and Freeman each had 10 points for South, which shot 19-for-69 for the game. King had 11 rebounds and freshman Robert Brooks had eight points and 10 rebounds in a starting role.

“I feel good about what we accomplished with the problems we had,” Naylor said. “I really didn’t think we’d be here. With the freshmen, I feel good about the future.”

Tuscarora’s leading scorer on the year, Lamell Washington, had only four points.

Tuscarora 59, South Hagerstown 46
SOUTH HAGERSTOWN (16-9)
Freeman 10, D. King 10, Hill 9, Swayne 5, Vaughan 4, Brooks 8. Totals 19 5-10 46.
TUSCARORA (21-3)
Barber 2, McDonald 18, Findley 9, Washington 4, Bernard 14, Hopper 2, Anderson 3, Ingram 2, McGee 5. Totals 25 6-10 59.
S. Hagerstown    11    5    14    16    —    46
Tuscarora    5    16    17    21    —    59
3-point goals — South 3 (Hill, Swayne, D. King), Tuscarora 3 (McDonald 2, McGee). Technical fouls — Freeman, Washington.

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