Douglass guard duo helps oust Randallstown, 63-47

March 11, 1994|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Special to The Sun

COLLEGE PARK -- One guard entered yesterday's Class 3A state semifinal reeling from the lingering effects of the flu.

The other, a freshman, faced the unenviable task of having to raise his level of play -- in his team's most important game of the season -- to fill the void.

Neither Robert Smith nor Alfonso Jones of 18th-ranked Douglass could let his handicap stand in the way against a young and aggressive Randallstown team yesterday at Cole Field House.

And neither did.

Smith scored a game-high 22 points to go along with Jones' 20, as the third-seeded Ducks knocked off the second-seeded Rams, 63-47, to advance to their first state title game.

The Ducks (13-9) will play fourth-seeded DuVal of Prince George's County -- a winner in yesterday's other semifinal against top-seeded Thomas Johnson, 81-67 -- at 3 p.m. tomorrow for the Class 3A championship.

"This feels good -- it's one of the best feelings I've ever felt," said Smith, who showed no signs of the illness that kept him out of practice Wednesday.

The 5-foot-2 senior hit three three-point baskets, to go long with three from the 5-11 Jones, and completely befuddled Randallstown's defense.

When left alone, they hit the open shots. When covered, they blew past defenders. When double-covered, they found the open man.

"They were the difference," said Rams coach Reggie Brooks. "They're just two really good players. Our goal was to try to guard them and see what they've got.

"They've got a lot."

The duo did the bulk of its damage to start the second quarter. With the game tied at 16, they combined for 10 straight points to give Douglass a 26-16 lead, and the 16th-ranked Rams (16-5) never recovered.

Smith started things off with a three-pointer, and Jones then hit one of his own. After two straight Rams turnovers on charging calls, Smith scored two layups after Ducks steals.

In a little more than three minutes, the backcourt tandem helped turn a close contest into Douglass' game to lose.

Then again, that wasn't a surprise for Ducks coach John Nash, who has watched the duo work its magic all season.

"These two young men have carried us for a long time," said Nash. "I gave them the nickname of 'The Two Igniters.' They just make our offense go."

And with Jones doing the bulk of the ball-handling, they rarely sputtered. only turning the ball over 11 times to Randallstown's 19.

The Rams, led by forward Lance Anderson (22 points), pulled within five, at 39-34, in the third quarter. But once Anderson picked up his fourth personal with 4:08 left in the third, it was all downhill.

"It hurt a lot," said Brooks. "He was really pumped up and doing a lot of scoring. When we had to sit him down it took a lot out of us."

The Ducks extended their lead from there, coasting into their first state final.

For Douglass players, getting there is especially sweet after being disqualified last year, when using an ineligible player in the regional quarterfinals cost them a 59-57 win against Centennial.

"Many people thought we couldn't make it as far as we did last year so they tried to bump us out of it," said Smith. "This year, we made sure everybody was in school and passing. We just came ready to play."

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