C.M. Wright turns back N. Harford

January 19, 1995|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,Sun Staff Writer

C. Milton Wright lost a 20-point lead through the middle two quarters at North Harford, then used foul shots to thwart the Hawks in the closing minutes of their Harford County League game last night, 65-56.

It was the fifth straight victory -- fourth in the league -- for Wright (7-4, 4-1) and a second straight county loss for North Harford (7-3, 2-2).

This was a study in contrasts for three quarters, then near mirror images in the final quarter.

There was Wright running off to a 31-11 lead in the first nine minutes; North Harford battling back to within 12 at the half, and, on a Brock Jourdan three-pointer at the buzzer, getting third-quarter tie at 46; and then both sides failing to hit even the point-blank shots.

The Mustangs appeared to have a hold on things when they included five successive free throws in a 9-1 run, and a 55-47 lead in less than two minutes of the last period.

Senior Chris Rueckert, who has averaged 20 points over the last five games, had the two baskets in that last-quarter run, and went on to total 22 points and 17 rebounds. Junior Duane Fisher had 14 points and 14 rebounds.

Behind 55-47, North Harford charged back, despite giving away size, jumping ability and quickness.

"That's the heart of this team; they don't get down," said North Harford coach Spike Griffith. "The greater the challenge, the more they respond."

The Hawks were within 55-52 and had the ball but got nothing out of it, and within 57-54 at 3:55, and came up empty.

That turned out to be the game, as the closing minutes were a mish-mash of turnovers, fouls, including one intentional against North Harford, and a series of missed chances.

Marcus Perkins had the hot hand for Wright in the first quarter with 12 points (a season-high 19 for the night), but even with the big lead, Constantine was wary.

"We've been through this before with them. Regardless of how it starts, it always comes down to a nail-biter," he said.

And so it did.

"We were down, but woke up," said Griffith, pointing to a second quarter that saw his Hawks start to climb off the floor.

Six different scorers helped close the gap to 39-27.

With the leading Mustangs restricted to three field goals and a foul shot, North Harford got back in the game behind Jourdan. He hit two three-pointers, and collected 12 of his team's 19 third-quarter points.

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