Memorable year for G. Burnie


March 13, 1994|By PAT O'MALLEY

That was a tough loss Glen Burnie suffered Thursday night at College Park in the Class 4A state boys basketball semifinals.

The Gophers staged a frantic second-half rally, overcoming a 20-point, third-period deficit and a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit against Springbrook, but came up short, 66-64.

It was Glen Burnie's first appearance in the final four since 1961 and the first in Terry Bogle's 26 years as head coach, but it will go down as a memorable one.

Just when it appeared that the Gophers were going to embarrass themselves, they stepped it up and distinguished themselves. Those who thought Glen Burnie was happy just to be there were wrong.

"Coming back on the bus from Annapolis [where they won the East Region final March 5], one of the kids said he didn't care what happened, because we were there [at Cole Field House]," said Bogle earlier in the week.

"Well, three or four of the others jumped all over him and said we were going there to win, not just show up."

Only a couple of bad breaks kept them from playing in last night's final against Southern of Baltimore.

Here's hoping Glen Burnie fans don't remember only the last performances of point guard William Brown and center Marquise Farmer but will remember the huge contributions those two made to get the Gophers there.

As often happens in sports, the best players who helped get you there are sometimes cursed in the big games, and it's then up to someone else to step up. That happened Thursday at Cole as the Gophers overcame a 56-41 deficit in the final period and nearly tied it with the game's final shot thanks to the heroics of Shawn Mahaney.

Brown, who averaged 11 points a game coming into Cole, scored only five points on a three-pointer and two free throws. A pass that was intercepted and a missed final shot that could have tied the game would befall Brown in the last 21 seconds.

Those two miscues were extremely uncharacteristic for Brown. The senior point guard had been a go-to guy all year for the Gophers.

Along the rough road to College Park, Brown made a habit of winning games in the final period. The magic ran out Thursday night, but not for lack of effort.

Without him, Glen Burnie would not have been there, and he should be remembered for his consistent talent and floor leadership over the long haul.

Thursday, Farmer did not score until he made the first of two free-throw attempts with 6:20 left in the game. He finished with six points (four at the line) and five rebounds.

Coming into the semifinal, the 6-foot-6 Farmer was averaging 12 points and 8.3 rebounds. If the junior had had a normal game, and he had some great ones for the Gophers down the stretch this season, Glen Burnie would have won going away.

But don't blame Farmer. Rather, credit Springbrook's 6-4 junior center Aaron Harrod (nine points, eight rebounds) for the great game he played against an outstanding player. Farmer gets another chance next year as a senior, but redemption is not necessary.

I saw Farmer show considerable versatility on several occasions during the season. His overall play had a lot to do with the team's success.

As for stepping up and getting his team back in the game, Mahaney's performance was unforgettable.

After taking the game's first shot and watching it hit above and behind the backboard, Mahaney scored only two points in the first half. But what a second half.

Mahaney hit six of seven three-point attempts (one short of the state tournament record), three in each of the third and fourth periods. He finished with a game-high 22 points and lighted the fire under his teammates.

Strangely enough, Mahaney was waiting on the wing as Brown drove into a congested lane for the final shot, but it just wasn't to be.

Still, all the Gophers can hold their heads high for an unforgettable 20-5 season that included an 89-80 win at top-seeded Annapolis in the region final and a gritty final game. ,, When all seemed impossible, the true Glen Burnie character and intensity showed.

It was obvious in that final period why Glen Burnie was there, but sometimes the best team doesn't win.

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