Scorpions' Title Hopes Fall As Shots Don't Vs. Comets

Top Seed, Coldouting -- Repeat Dream

March 10, 1991|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Staff writer

Oakland Mills' up-and-down season ended on a down note Thursday.

The fourth-seeded Scorpions (17-8) shot only 32 percent (23-for-73) from the floor and dropped an 83-61 decision to top-seeded Catonsville(25-0) in the state Class 3A semifinal at the University of Maryland's Cole Field House.

The defeat squashed Oakland Mills' hopes of repeating as MarylandPublic Secondary Schools Athletic Association state champion.

"Wemissed a lot of easy shots, didn't make our free throws and didn't play much defense," Scorpions coach Dave Appleby said. "And when we tried to make a comeback, Catonsville played well and hit their shots. They deserve credit."

Three Catonsville players who hurt Oakland Mills the most were guard Rob Reich (20 points), center Marlon Barbour(18 points, 15 rebounds) and point guard David Clark (17 points, 10 rebounds).

Barbour shot 8-for-16 from the floor, Reich 5-for-11 and Clark 7-for-15, while Catonsville as a team shot only 38 percent (28-for-74).

Clark guarded Carruthers Gant and held him to 17 pointson 6-for-19 shooting from the floor, including 2-for-8 from three-point range. Gant, who had scored 32 points in both regional games, wasOakland Mills' leading scorer for the year, averaging 20 points.

"We knew Gant was the key," Clark said. "Theron Owens played Gant at first, and then I switched to him to give him a new look, and we doubled on him whenever we could. He seemed tired and his shots were short."

Gant did hit a swishing three-pointer to put Oakland Mills up 7-4 early. The Scorpions led 13-12 after one period.

But he hit only one basket and three free throws in the second quarter, and the Scorpions trailed, 37-30, at halftime.

"I had a lot of congestion inmy chest and had trouble breathing," Gant said. "But we just didn't execute and weren't getting our screens clear. And I've got to give credit to No. 10 (Clark)."

Another key for Catonsville was the 6-foot-3 Barbour. Defensively, he forced a stronger 6-5, 220-pound Marc Terry (11 points, 15 rebounds) into one of his poorest shooting nights.

Normally a high percentage shooter, Terry made only four of 17 attempts. The sophomore made the first basket of the game, but didn't score again until the second half.

"Barbour was crucial inside forus," Catonsville coach Art Gamzon said. "We really expected a barn-burner, a white-knuckler out there today. We thought this would be oursternest test all season because we had never faced a front line that big. We never anticipated winning by so much."

Gregg Washington (18 points), the third part of Oakland Mills' star offensive triumvirate with Gant and Terry, also turned in a disappointing effort.

The 6-5 forward scored his average for the season of 18 points, but Washington shot only 8-for-22 from the floor, 1-for-7 from three-point range and 1-for-6 from the foul line. He did grab 13 rebounds and block two shots.

And he kept Oakland Mills in the game with three baskets early in the second quarter when both teams struggled with their shooting.

The saving grace for Catonsville in the first half was free-throw shooting. It hit 16 of 19 before intermission and 22 of 27 (81 percent) for the game. Oakland Mills was only 12-for-24.

JamesLewis (15 points) was able to penetrate for Catonsville and pick up a bunch of fouls, which he converted, making nine of 10 free throws.

Three-point shots by Clark and Reich late in the half also helped build Catonsville's lead, as did a three-point play by Barbour.

Reich hit four of six three-pointers en route to a game-high 20 points.

Every time it looked as though Oakland Mills might make a comeback in the fourth quarter, after trailing by as many as 15 (54-39) in the third quarter, Reich buried a three-pointer. He sank three three-pointers in the fourth quarter.

Oakland Mills never cut Catonsville's lead below 10 points in the fourth quarter, thanks to Reich and three power baskets inside by Barbour.

Scorpions guard Joe Coughlan shot 3-for-7 from the floor, scoring six points and grabbing 11 rebounds.

This was Oakland Mills' fourth trip to the Final Four in six years. The four-time county champions' sole state title came last year.

"We never really thought we'd get this far this year," Gant said. "It's been a real fun season for me. I wouldn't trade it for anything."

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