Southern avenges Southwestern loss Boys basketball

January 23, 1993|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,Contributing Writer

Tuesday, Southern played its first home game of the season in its gymnasium that has earned the nickname the "Dog Pound." In its second game yesterday, Southern was seeking to avenge a December loss to Southwestern.

Southern was successful, with a 72-53 victory in a Maryland Scholastic Association Gamper Conference 4A-1A Division game. But also in the process, the Bulldogs sent a message to their division rivals.

"We're getting our respect back starting with today's game," said junior guard Damon Cason. "Mainly our problem in the first half of the season was our health and not being able to get any consistency."

The first half of the season for the Bulldogs (8-5, 4-2) was an exercise in frustration. It started off with junior Dante Williams, scheduled to be a starting forward, being suspended from the team for disciplinary reasons. Williams was reinstated to the team this week and is scheduled to see his first action of the season against Douglass on Feb. 2.

In mid-December, illnesses hit Southern as Cason, Kevin Simpson and Dancavis Keating each had the flu. Alphonso Hawes, another starter at forward, had pneumonia. The Bulldogs, which began the season ranked No. 2, stumbled to a 4-3 mark.

Then, it seemed that everything that could go wrong did. Part of their gym floor was damaged by rainwater, forcing them to practice on a half-court. They had to reschedule two games and a play a third at Mervo.

In their first home game on Tuesday, the Bulldogs routed Northwestern, 107-51. And yesterday's victory was especially sweet.

Cason, 6 feet 1, finished with a game-high 26 points and added seven assists and six rebounds. Simpson had 16 and Keating added 13 and nine rebounds.

The Bulldogs took a 53-45 lead into the final period, but the Sabres (11-4, 6-2) rallied to cut the lead to 54-51 with 5:17 left.

Then Southern regained the momentum. Cason took the ball behind his back, then bounced it between his legs in the lane and floated a jumper for a 56-51 lead.

On Southwestern's ensuing possession, the Sabres turned the ball over. Mike Wise made a layup and Southern went on to take a 69-51 lead with 1:10 left.

"They were better prepared than we were," said Southwestern coach Terry Leverette. "I knew coming down here that they would be fired up and we beat them at our school. We knew that they wanted to win."

Senior forward Donnie Joy led Southwestern with 13 points and Andre Swann added 11.

The Sabres began the game without their backcourt of junior Haywood Eaddy and senior Dion Crawford in the starting lineup. Eaddy is fighting knee problems and saw limited action. Crawford didn't start because he missed a practice on Thursday, but entered the game in the second quarter.

The Bulldogs led 21-17 after the first quarter, then began the second with a 7-2 run to build a 28-19 advantage.

Southern extended the lead to 38-28 at halftime, but the Sabres closed the margin to 49-45 on a basket by Devo Weems with 1:47 left in the third quarter. The Bulldogs closed out the quarter with a pair of free throws by Keating, then Cason hit Simpson a cross-court bounce pass that led to a dunk.

"This wasn't the biggest victory of the season, but it was the best," said Southern coach Meredith Smith. "The last time they caught us in a vulnerable position. Now, we got our people well and a whole floor to play on. From here on out, people are going to see a different team."

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