Sixth-ranked Annapolis runs past No. 8 Southern

February 08, 1994|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Sun Staff Writer

Southern coach Tom Albright says he "loves to play Annapolis, because it's always fun."

It was that and more for the 1,000-plus fans who crammed into Southern's small gym in Harwood last night as sixth-ranked Annapolis (14-2) outraced No. 8 Southern, 101-93.

Kelsey Watkins scored 29 points and point guard Juan "J. J." Johnson tossed in 22 points along with a game-high 10 assists to overcome Southern's Chatney Howard (32) and Corey Contee (25), who combined for 57 points.

"I love to play them, too," said Annapolis coach John Brady, who is 20-5 in 17 seasons against Southern. "It's like a tournament atmosphere when we come in here, but it is a tough place to play."

It was the type of game both teams love to play -- run, run and run. Rarely are these two county powers ever out of a game because of their ability to turn things around in a heartbeat.

Annapolis led by a point, 26-25, at the end of the first period despite 12 points by Howard (12 rebounds, eight assists and three steals). Southern (10-4) had an 11-point lead late in the first period at 25-14 only to have the Panthers rip off a 12-0 run and take the lead by one.

Annapolis went up by eight (40-32) with just over five minutes left in the first half, only to have the Dawgs come back and cut it to two at the half, 51-49. Rodey Watts scored all 15 of his points in the first half while pulling down 10 boards and blocking two shots.

Ten of Watts' points came on put-backs and his play inside enabled the Panthers to gain a 29-19 rebounding advantage (52-38 total for Annapolis) in the first half. But Watts got into foul trouble early in the third period and fouled out with 5:53 left in the game and Annapolis leading 82-78.

Larry Brown, who left the team before Christmas because of personal problems, saw his most action since returning in January. He responded with 10 points and 10 rebounds -- six in the final period to overcome the absence of Watts.

"Larry did a great job rebounding for us at the end and that was one of the main reasons we won," said Brady.

The Panthers also won because Brady switched from a man-to-man defense to a 2-3 zone that resulted in Howard, the county's leading scorer (26.8), hitting only one field goal in the second half. Howard scored his other seven points at the line in the second half.

"That was a smart move on John's part, going to the zone and keeping Chatney from going inside," said Albright.

Johnson scored the last eight points of the third period from the floor, the last two baskets from three-point range. The second one came at the buzzer to give the Panthers a 78-72 lead.

The Dawgs got within four (92-88) with just under two minutes to go, but Brown's follow pushed it back to six and Annapolis was on its way to a big win.

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