Ducks roll in tribute to Nash 3A EAST BOYS

March 02, 1995|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Special to The Sun

Douglass High School paid tribute to retiring coach John Nash before yesterday's Class 3A East Region semifinal with Howard.

School officials held a brief ceremony before the game, one that con- cluded with the naming of the gymnasium in Nash's honor.

And Douglass did not allow Howard to spoil its party.

No. 19 Douglass repeatedly disrupted the Howard offense with pressure defense and forced 24 turnovers, and Lamar Prilliman nearly pulled off a triple-double -- 26 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists -- on the way to a 77-56 win.

Second-seeded Douglass (14-5) advances to the region finals for the second straight year. The Ducks, who made it to the state final last year, travel to top-seeded and eighth-ranked Broadneck for a rematch of last year's region final tomorrow at 7 p.m.

Sixth-seeded Howard (10-14), which got 14 points from DaLawn Parrish and 12 from Corey Curtis, stayed close throughout much of the first half. The Lions trailed by seven with just over a minute left, but Douglass led, 42-32, at the break.

Douglass used a zone press at times in the first half, but Howard often broke through it. When the second half began, however, the Ducks turned up the pressure by using a full-court, man-to-man press that caused turnovers galore.

Howard coughed up the ball eight times in the third quarter alone, and the Ducks, led by Prilliman, Gilson Rogers (11 points, six assists), Michael Miller (10 points) and Clarence Jones (10 points, three assists) capitalized.

"We were fortunate in doing that in the second half," said Nash, retiring after 25 years on the bench and 31 years at the school. "The guys came out and got some timely turnovers and steals."

The Ducks also often got easy layups or high-percentage scoring chances after the turnovers. They finished with 20 points from turnovers.

Twice in the third quarter, Howard turned the ball over on three straight times down the floor. The turnovers also started a 14-0 Douglass run that sealed the victory.

"The turnover after turnover after turnover hurt us," said Howard coach Kevin Broadus. "I give Douglass credit. They were all over the place."

As the Ducks' lead grew, so did the noise. But when the cheering finally stopped after the game, Nash sat on the bleachers, looked around at "his" gymnasium and thought for a few moments.

Then he smiled.

"It's nice to see that people think that much of you," he said.

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