Southern roars back to beat Potomac, 70-57 Class 3A boys

March 18, 1993|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Contributing Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- Second-ranked Southern began this season in an uncharacteristically slow fashion, winning four of its first seven games.

Yesterday, however, in the state Class 3A title game against Potomac of Prince George's County, the Bulldogs ended it in a blur.

Southern used intense pressure to create fast-break opportunities, breaking open a close game in the third-quarter and coasting to a 70-57 win at Cole Field House.

The victory was the Bulldogs' 13th straight, and 17th in their final 19 games. It was also the second straight for Baltimore City -- after Dunbar's win in the Class 1A final -- in its first year of state tournament competition.

"It's tremendous," Southern coach Meredith Smith said. "Being among the first in Baltimore City is special to us. It means a lot."

After Potomac (20-2) scored eight points to start the game, the Braves controlled the tempo and -- by most estimations -- the game until late in the first half. That's when the Bulldogs (21-5), led by Kevin Simson (16 points), Dantavious Keating (15) and Damon Cason (12) turned up the intensity and scoring eight straight in the final 2:12 to pull even at 23-23 by halftime.

"Their aggression seemed like it stepped up a little higher than ours," said Potomac coach Taft Hickman, whose team lost in dramatic fashion to Catonsville in last year's title game. "Southern just stepped it up. They wanted it more than we did, and turned it up a notch."

Southern limited the Braves to 10 shots from the field in the third quarter, forcing five turnovers and taking 6-foot-8, 290-pound center William Peters out of the offense by cutting off the passing lanes. By the third quarter, it was Southern that established control of the lane. The Bulldogs' Alphonso Hawes, Keating and Donte Williams blocked three shots apiece. Southern also began to pull even in rebounding, out-rebounding Potomac on the offensive end.

After Potomac pulled even at 29-29, the Bulldogs went on a 12-2 run to take a 41-31 lead with 2:01 left in the quarter.

"Their offense just stopped working," Cason said. "We knew our defense was starting to work in the second half when we started to sag off their shooters and keyed on the big kid [Peters]."

Cason said the key was Southern's intense pressure, led by point guard Michael Wise. Wise shadowed Potomac point guard Kareem Bolden, stealing four passes and throwing the Braves out of their offense.

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