Southern takes Wicomico to school Bulldogs do it all well in 63-47 regional win

March 01, 1996|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

There were no surprises in this one.

Southern simply came out and gave Wicomico of Salisbury a stern lesson on how to play the game the old-fashioned way last night and walked off the floor with a 63-47 victory in the Class 2A East Region semifinals at Southern.

Crunching picks, full-court pressure defense, patient offense, diving on the floor for loose balls, a collapsing 1-3-1 zone defense. You name it and the Bulldogs did it against a much-quicker Wicomico squad that came to town with a 19-5 record.

When Southern's 6-foot-5, 240-pound center Matt Thomas laid a bone-bruising pick on Wicomico's tiny guard Doug King at mid-court, springing Jeff Crandell for a length-of-the-floor drive for a layup and a 51-33 lead with 4:33 left in the game, the lesson was complete.

Southern (15-8) was well on its way to tomorrow night's 2A East championship game against Poly at 7 o'clock at Southern and one win from Cole Field House.

If the Bulldogs make it to College Park, they will be out to win a fifth state championship for veteran coach Tom Albright who is Anne Arundel County's winningest coach (452-259 in 31 seasons).

Shortly after the game was over, Albright headed home to watch tape of Poly "all night long."

"I have to watch a lot of tape because I'm not smart enough to figure out what other teams are doing by watching them just once," said Albright jokingly.

Thomas made a living last night setting picks, barreling his way inside for baskets and rebounds and using his body to virtually take Wicomico's leading scorer Damien Johnson out of the game the final three quarters.

Johnson scored 12 of his game-high 19 points in the first quarter when he consistently beat Southern to the basket for an assortment of short jumpers in the lane and layups.

But Thomas and company soon shored up that defensive shortcoming.

Thomas finished the game with 18 points, 11 rebounds and two steals and Jeff Crandell continued his hot tournament play with 17 points, 11 steals and five assists.

Jeff's brother, Scott, had 11 rebounds and eight points. Derek Hawkins contributed 15 points and was the reason the Bulldogs got off to a quick 16-6 lead. Hawkins scored eight of the first 16 points for Southern.

Albright cautioned his players not to take anything for granted against Poly.

"They're a good team and we're going to have to be on top of our game to win," said Albright. "You always have to worry in this game. I learned that long ago."

Wicomico coach Butch Waller said the aggressive Southern defense and deliberate offense "took us out of most of the things we do well.

"We are a transition team and I thought our speed would help us more against a team that wasn't as quick tonight as the first time I saw them."

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