Oak. Mills takes Hebron, 62-57 Boys basketball

February 20, 1993|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Staff Writer

The Oakland Mills Scorpions know how to take a punch.

When the Scorpions walked into Mount Hebron's gym last night, they were hoping to put two disheartening games behind them. After losing on consecutive days to Centennial and Glenelg, Oakland Mills found itself falling out of the county title chase and needing a victory to climb back into the Class 2A, Region II playoff picture.

Then the Scorpions took an early lead, weathered a three-point shooting storm by Hebron, and bounced back to take control in the final three minutes and win, 62-57.

Oakland Mills (9-10, 7-5) needs to win one of its two remaining county games next week against Hammond and Atholton to lock up a playoff berth. A loss last night could have been devastating.

"I'm proud of these kids. They have a lot of persistence, and that's a good quality," Oakland Mills coach Dave Appleby said. "They lost two tough games in two days, and they came in here in a must-win situation and played one of our better games this year. They've worked very hard to get to this point."

The Scorpions' season has been a challenge from the outset. Fielding one of their more inexperienced teams in Appleby's 10 years, they struggled to an 0-4 start against a tough December schedule. But they've rebounded to win nine of their past 15 games. A sixth straight county championship appears highly unlikely, but Oakland Mills has matured into a legitimate threat in the 2A playoff picture.

Sophomore Michael Hill, the most exciting newcomer in the league, has been the main reason for that resurgence. He came into last night's game averaging 19 points, then proceeded to show the Vikings (9-11, 3-9) why.

Hill led all scorers with 23 points, including 15 in the second half. He burned the Vikings repeatedly with medium-range baseline jumpers and slashing moves inside. At one point, he scored 10 points during a 14-9 run that put the Scorpions on top 47-41 early in the fourth quarter.

Senior Chad Barr is another example of the Scorpions' resilience. After missing the Glenelg game two nights ago with the flu -- Glenelg whipped Oakland Mills, 56-37 -- Barr proved his value by playing 31 minutes and scoring 14 points. Antoine Barnes added 15 for the Scorpions.

"When I saw him [Barr] walk into the gym, I just thought 'Man, we can't catch a break,' " said Hebron coach Scott Robinson, whose team has struggled for the past six weeks and lost its ninth game in 10 outings. "He didn't look sick to me."

The Vikings, who need to win their remaining games against Wilde Lake and Glenelg to qualify for the 2A Region II playoffs, did not go quietly. Behind a three-point barrage by sophomore Kurtis Jestes (team-high 22 points, four three-pointers), Hebron scored 24 points in the second quarter to take a 32-30 halftime lead.

Hebron, which made seven three-pointers in all, took one more shot at the Scorpions. Trailing 47-41 after Hill's alley-oop layup in the opening seconds of the fourth period, Hebron went on an 11-4 run. Jestes hit his fourth three-pointer of the night to pull Hebron to 47-45, hit a 10-footer to close the gap to 51-50, then made two free throws to give Hebron a 52-51 lead with 2:49 left.

Oakland Mills wasted no time responding with a decisive answer. First, Hill dished off nicely inside to Barnes for a layup. Hill followed that with two foul shots, then finished an 8-0 spurt with a twisting layup in traffic to give the Scorpions a 59-52 lead with 1:07 left.

Hebron never got closer than five points after that. Royal Antoine finished with 12 points for the Vikings. Mark Jensen had nine, Phil Tonkins, eight.

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