No. 11 Southwestern stuns No. 3 Southern Boys basketball

December 19, 1992|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,Contributing Writer

Some thought last season's strong start by Southwestern was a fluke. Others thought its performance against Dunbar late last season, in which it led for more than three quarters, was also a fluke.

But yesterday, the Sabres took a big step in the maturing process of a competitive team.

The No. 11 Sabres upset visiting and No. 3 Southern, 82-72, in the Maryland Scholastic Association Gamper Conference 3A-1A Division.

Southwestern (4-1, 1-0) gained control of the game midway through the second quarter and led by as many as 16 points before a late three-point assault by the Bulldogs (3-3, 0-1) pulled them to within six. But the Sabres hit eight of 12 free throws in the final two minutes for the victory.

"This was a hard-fought game," said Southwestern coach Terry Leverette. "I think the kids have been building for this day. They were prepared, but the only thing I didn't like was them missing those one-and-ones down in the crunch time. I think they should have beaten Southern by 20."

Junior swingman Wilbert Smith led Southwestern with 20 points. Junior guard Haywood Eaddy scored 18 and Melvin Nichols and Dion Crawford each added 13.

The Sabres won their first seven games last season, including victories over Carver, Cardinal Gibbons and Edmondson, each ranked in the Sun's top 20. Southwestern faltered in the second half, winning one of its final 12 games.

Earlier in the season, Southwestern played with Potomac, Washington's No. 9 squad, before losing, 58-53. Tuesday, the Sabres rallied in the final three minutes to defeat Carver, 62-60.

Thursday, after building a 23-point lead after three quarters, Southwestern held off Poly, 79-72, in a game Leverette described as more of a turning point for his team than anything that occurred yesterday.

"We are a little more matured," said Leverette. "Last night [Thursday], we had a 30-point lead in the fourth quarter and we let them back into game. But we finished it, and we did in the other games except Potomac. Last year, we wouldn't have won those games."

Junior guard Kevin Simpson led the Bulldogs with 33 points. Junior point guard Damon Cason scored 16 before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Mike Deshazo added 13.

Deshazo, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, started in place of sophomore Dantavius Keating, who was out with pneumonia. The Bulldogs continue to struggle with illnesses and lineup changes, which have slowed them down in the early weeks of the season.

"We haven't had a regular starting lineup yet this season," said Southern coach Meredith Smith. "Keating, who was slated at the start of the season as our sixth man and now thrust in as a starter, is out. We had to go deep on our bench put our young kids in a pressure situation in trying to come back. But take nothing away from Southwestern. They played a very good game. They got the control and ran a patient offense. Once they got front, they played smart."

Southern took its final lead of the game at 21-19 with 7:05 left in the second quarter, on a Simpson's layup. The Sabres outscored Southern, 12-1, to take a 31-22 lead. Southwestern went into halftime with a 41-35 advantage.

The Sabres extended the lead to 53-43 when Eaddy capped the quarter with a spinning, behind the back layup. They began to pull away in the opening minutes of the final period, getting another basket from Eaddy and a three-point play by Nichols, to lead 58-43 with 7:30 left.

With 3:26 remaining, Cason fouled out of the game, leaving Simpson as Southern's only long-range threat.

"This win shouldn't be a surprise," said Smith, a 6-foot-2 junior. "We are capable of playing like this each game. Everyone thinks that Southwestern is no good, but they are wrong."

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