South River hangs on, defeats Northeast, 62-61

March 06, 1994|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Sun Staff Writer

WYE MILLS, Md. -- The South River Seahawks may look around during this week's state tournament at UMBC and ask themselves, "What are we doing here?"

Or perhaps another team in the Class 2A bracket will make the same inquiry regarding the Edgewater school.

No matter. The past three games have shown that South River deserves to continue on, in spite of how improbable it seems.

Last night, the fourth-seeded Seahawks used 27 points and 25 rebounds from senior Pam Patterson, tough man-to-man defense and a little luck at the end to defeat No. 6 seed Northeast, 62-61, in the 2A East Region final at Chesapeake College.

Sophomore Amy Nye made a jumper with seven seconds left to break a 60-60 tie, but teammate Jess Marion fouled Northeast's Kristin Briggs with one second remaining as she attempted a three-point shot, giving the sophomore guard three free throws and a chance to win the game.

Briggs made the first one, but missed the next two. The Eagles' Maleah Rey grabbed the rebound, but her off-balance shot at the buzzer wouldn't fall, and South River had secured the title.

Who would have believed it?

The Seahawks (13-12) came in as the fourth seed with a below-.500 record. Coach Ronald Price, in his first season, was hoping for improvement over last year's five-win campaign. A trip to UMBC wasn't the main topic of conversation.

"I set two goals at the beginning of the season," Price said. "One was to at least be .500, and the other was to make the region playoffs."

They did more than that.

"We realize we're going, but it hasn't sunk in yet that we have a chance to be state champions," said Marion (10 points). I was praying that [Braggs] would miss. I thought she'd make them and we'd lose. I was sweating it."

Patterson had the Eagles on edge most of the night, scoring many of her points on second or third shots. She had 20 points after halftime, including 12 in the third quarter, which ended with South River leading, 49-43.

"It was our inside game that did if for us," she said. "We knew they were a strong three-point shooting team and we had to come out with something different."

The Eagles' lack of size has forced them to rely heavily on their outside shooting, but they made only three three-pointers last night.

"We played a tight man-to-man on their three shooters," Price said, "and a looser man-to-man on their inside people. We knew it would be a close game. That was the difference."

There were two ties in the third quarter, before Patterson's work on the boards allowed South River to go ahead by as many as seven points.

"We fronted her pretty well and Marcia guarded her real well, but she seems to get more points after the ball's been shot up," said Northeast coach Calvin Vain, who has been to the states twice, )) with Annapolis in 1981 and Northeast in 1990.

"I know Kristin missed the last shots and feels really bad, but she runs the offense and when she's out, we look unbelievably bad. She doesn't get enough credit. I told her we had other shots, and those were the ones that could have won it. And I've never seen too many on television hit three out of three. It's a lot of pressure."

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