Southwestern sinks Walbrook

January 25, 1995|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,Contributing Writer

When Southwestern coach Terry Leverett first surveyed the contenders for the state 4A championship, he felt his Sabers had a good shot. But with three losses in their past five games, qualifying for the playoffs is now a concern.

However, the No. 6 Sabers yesterday showed they're still a legitimate contender for the state championships in March, defeating visiting No. 4 Walbrook, 74-57, in a Baltimore City 4A League game.

Ernie Evans led Southwestern (10-4, 4-2) with 20 points. Reginald Johnson added 19 and five assists. Anton Jenifer led all scorers with 28 points for Walbrook (10-3, 3-2) and Travone Broadway had 18.

"After the Lake Clifton game [an 85-61 loss] is when we started talking about a state championship," said Leverett, whose team's other losses were to Dunbar (D.C.), Mervo and Southern-B. "I figured this team would be 13-8. It still could be 13-8, but this team is coming together and starting to believe."

There was a sense of urgency for Southwestern -- which lost to Southern-B in the state 4A North region final last season -- going into yesterday's contest. The win boosted its confidence after a 75-71 loss to the Bulldogs at home last Tuesday.

And the Sabers did it when it counted yesterday -- in the final quarter.

Southwestern led 44-34 at the start of the fourth, but the Warriors closed to within 55-53 with 3:23 remaining on a free throw by Jenifer. A free throw by Johnson gave the Sabers a three-point cushion.

After a Walbrook turnover, Evans found Warren Parker inside for an easy dunk. Three free throws by Donta Lloyd extended Southwestern's lead to 61-53 with 1:39 remaining. The Warriors got to within 63-57, but the Sabers closed out the game with 11 consecutive points.

In the fourth quarter, Southwestern converted its final five attempts from the field and was 12-for-12 from the free-throw line in the final two minutes.

"Southwestern played well," said Walbrook coach Gus Herrington. "We didn't have a good practice; just weren't mentally prepared. My assistant coach asked after practice if the guys were focused and I said 'No.'"

The Warriors, coming off a 90-84 victory over Southern-B, proved Herrington right as they had problems with the Sabers' 1-2-2 defense, making 22 turnovers.

With 6:22 remaining in the game, the Warriors found themselves within 47-43 after Broadway scored their first nine points of the final quarter. After a basket by Evans, Jenifer hit a three-pointer, making it 49-46.

But on a day that Southwestern needed to respond, it did as Lloyd and Evans each had baskets, increasing the Sabers' advantage to 53-46 with 5:08 remaining.

"We needed this win," said Evans, who had six rebounds. "We've lost a couple of games we should have won. We had to come out here and play like we had nothing to lose."

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