Annapolis slips past Calvert, 63-60 Diggs-Dacey duo helps Panthers fend off upset

March 01, 1996|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Calvert coach Bill Stewart summed it up rather simply.

"Good players step up when it counts," said Stewart, referring to Boo Diggs and Ryan Dacey of Annapolis.

The Panthers' "double-D's duo" combined for 13 of 19 points in the final period as No. 8 Annapolis took a 63-60 squeaker over the Cavaliers of Calvert County to advance to a Class 4A East region final tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Old Mill.

It will be the 17th region final in 19 years for the Panthers (20-5) under coach John Brady, and this is Brady's 15th 20-win season. His Panthers have won the region 11 times, most recently in 1991.

"We wanted to make [Diggs and Dacey] work hard to get the ball, especially Diggs," said Stewart.

Calvert (15-7), which starts only one senior, upset Arundel on Tuesday and nearly pulled off another before Diggs and Dacey stepped up.

Diggs, a 6-foot-7 junior, duplicated his superb defensive effort of Tuesday with five steals and four blocked shots leading to 17 Calvert turnovers to go with his game-high 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Calvert started the final period by boosting its 46-44 lead to four points on a basket by Lamont Hawkins (13 points) before Dacey's second three of the game made it 48-47.

After the two teams traded baskets, Linford Matthews (nine points, six rebounds) hit a three to give Annapolis a 52-50 lead with 5:32 left. Matthews' three was set up by a key rebound from 6-7 junior Brian Barber.

Calvert knotted the score on two free throws by Hawkins with 5:13 on the clock.

It was "Boo time." Diggs, who had been sitting with four fouls since 2:39 to go in the third period, took a feed from Dacey, scored on a scoop and was fouled at 4:24. The free throw made it 55-52.

A repeat tip by Tom Pitcher (12 points) cut it to 55-54 for Calvert, before John Downs (nine points, four assists) found Diggs in the paint for a leaner and a 57-54 Panthers lead with about three minutes left.

"I was having trouble getting open until the final period when I worked my way clear," said Diggs, whose final baskets gave the Panthers the lead for good.

Calvert missed on the other end and Diggs gobbled up the carom, but the Panthers failed to capitalize and Calvert sophomore James Dent (12 points, game-high 15 rebounds) scored in the high post to make it 57-56.

Dacey's parade to the line commenced at this point and the Panthers senior would go on to sink five of eight free-throw attempts in the final two minutes. Matthews also hit one of two from the line with 58 seconds left.

Calvert cut it to 62-60 with six seconds remaining on Gil Washington's first and only shot of the night, but Dacey iced it with the back end of two with four seconds left.

"We have to play better than that if we're going to win Saturday night," said Brady.

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