Middletown escapes F. Scott Key, 68-66 Boys basketball

February 20, 1993|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff Writer

All night long it looked like the visiting Middletown Knights were about to run away and hide from a game Francis Scott Key Eagles team.

In each of the first three quarters the Monocacy Valley Athletic League front-runners enjoyed leads of 10 or more, only to see Key rally back.

It wasn't until Eagles guard Jason Smith's three-point shot at the buzzer banged off the rim that Middletown was able to breath a sigh of relief in coming away with a 68-66 win last night.

"We knew it was going to be tough and we're just glad to get out of here with a win," said Middletown coach Barry Blickenstaff.

"They [Key] have a lot of guys capable of scoring and they just keep coming at you."

After trailing throughout the night, Key took its first lead with five minutes left in the game when Smith sank a pair of free throws.

Middletown (18-3, 14-2 in the MVAL) answered with a 10-0 run to take a 65-57 lead with under three minutes to play only to see the Eagles (4-15, 3-12) make one last run.

Key's Scott Kreit, who finished with a game-high 24 points, hit a three with 2:15 left to cut the lead to 65-60. John Engel then followed with two free throws at the 1:41 mark to get Key within three at 65-62.

While the Eagles hit 20 of 25 from the free-throw line, Middletown struggled at the line, particularly in the closing minute.

The Knights missed three front ends of one-and-one situations --

the last chance with seven seconds left -- to give Key their final chance.

"Our kids kept working all night long, but just couldn't come up with the win," said Key coach Jeff Cook.

"We've had so many games like this, it would just be nice to be on the other end of some of them.

"I told the kids I was proud of them and they did everything I could have asked of them, but it would have been nice to come away with a win."

Middletown got balanced scoring with all five starters reaching double figures, led by 6-foot-8 center John Bennett (20 points).

Bennett was a dominate factor on the defensive end as well. He finished the night with a 13 blocked shots, including a big one off a shot from Kreit with 19 seconds left.

Middletown enjoyed a 21-8 lead after one quarter, before Francis Scott Key got on track in the second to cut the lead to 37-32 at intermission. Paul Coale hit for 10 points late in the quarter to go along with a three-pointer by Steve Wright to get Key close.

Middletown again opened a double-figure lead -- 47-36 -- at the 3:54 mark of the third quarter when Bennett got a feed inside the paint and finished with a slam, but Key just wouldn't go away.

Coale and Wright both finished with 13 for the Eagles. Rollison had 14 and Rich Felthousen had 12 for the Knights, who also got 10 points from both Brian McMahon and Jon DeGrange.

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