Opposites work well for Perry Hall

January 31, 1993|By Marc Bouchard | Marc Bouchard,Contributing Writer

Though they've taken different roads, Perry Hall seniors Jeff Burroughs and Pernell Owens have arrived at the right time for the Gators basketball team.

Burroughs, an excellent three-point shooter and tenacious defender, has started at guard for Perry Hall since his sophomore season.

Owens, a speedy defender and good finisher on fast breaks, is getting the first quality time of his high school career as the Gators' sixth man.

In practice, Burroughs is a hard worker, while Owens' practice habits drive Perry Hall coach Phil Walter "crazy."

Burroughs, who also plays baseball and football, is president of the senior class and wants to major in broadcast journalism in college.

Owens, whose only varsity sport is basketball, is quiet and reserved and isn't sure what major he'll choose in college.

About the only thing they have in common is that they've both helped Perry Hall to a 12-3 record and the area's No. 20 ranking.

Walter has been aware of Burroughs' talent since bringing him up to the varsity for Perry Hall's last game of Burroughs' freshman season.

Owens, however, has been something of a surprise for the Gators.

"I knew Jeff was going to be a good player, but Pernell has been the difference this season," said Walter, whose Gators finished with a 9-13 record last year. "When [Owens] enters the game, the pace really quickens."

Though he sometimes frustrates Walter during practice, Owens redeems himself in games.

"He'll drive you crazy as a practice player," said Walter. "But when he gets on the court during a game, there's no one who plays harder."

Walter says Owens, who's averaging 9.0 points, is a tough kid to figure out.

"Pernell is a very secretive person," said Walter. "He doesn't open up very freely, and he takes a lot of pride in himself.

"Earlier in the season, he had a problem [accepting his substitute role] but we had a little talk and he bounced back with a 24-point game against Lansdowne."

Owens, 6 feet 1, admits that it is hard not being in the starting lineup, but has accepted his role.

"At first it was frustrating, but I'm used to it now," said Owens. "The team's success is good enough for me."

Burroughs, meanwhile, simply has returned to a familiar role.

"He's been averaging 15 points a game since his sophomore year," said Walter. "He's used to being in the limelight, and he's one of the first [players] to compliment someone who comes off the bench and does a nice job for the sake of the team.

"He works very hard and has excellent three-point range. When he gets hot and teams don't make adjustments, it's all over."

Burroughs (5-10) knows his role means more than just scoring points.

"I try to make everybody better," said Burroughs. "I just go out and give it my all, and it kind of leads everybody to play hard."

That leadership has led Perry Hall to its first winning record since Burroughs has been on the varsity.

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