Sawyer directs Havre de Grace to Cole Second-half run does in Sparrows Point, 84-72

Boys basketball

March 03, 1996|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

For much of last night's Class 1A North Region final, host Sparrows Point seemed destined to win its first regional crown in 35 years.

Playing before their largest crowd of the season in a bandbox of a gym, the Pointers built an eight-point lead shortly before halftime, and seemed to have everything going their way.

With a second half to remember, however, Havre de Grace's John Sawyer got it right back, scoring 18 of his game-high 24 points after the break to lead the 16th-ranked Warriors to an 84-72 victory.

"It was a case of who wanted it more, and we just wanted it more," said Sawyer. "Determination -- that was about it."

The Warriors (18-5) advance to the Class 1A state semifinals against Williamsport, a 58-43 winner over Southern-Garrett, Friday at 5 p.m. at Cole Field House. It will mark their first trip to the University of Maryland campus since 1986.

Led by Sawyer and Al Mann (19 points), Havre de Grace dominated the boards in the fourth quarter, outrebounding the Pointers, 12-2, in the first six minutes, including six on the offensive end.

"In the first half we were letting them get too many second shots," said Havre de Grace coach George Leonard. "I thought Sawyer and Mann really stepped up and played an outstanding game on the offensive and defensive boards."

Leading 61-59, the Warriors began to take command, hitting 10 of their final 15 shots and outscoring Sparrows Point, 23-13, over the final 4:20.

The Pointers (15-7), meanwhile, began firing blanks. Content to shoot from the outside, they made two of their final 10 shots, and were unable to take advantage of the Warriors' poor foul shooting (19-for-43).

Nonetheless, coach Russ Lingner said he was proud of the way his team kept things close until the final minutes.

"I'm very proud of them," said Lingner. "Their guys just got on the boards at the very end."

Lingner said having three players foul out made it tough to keep pace late in the game.

"We've got a seven-man rotation, and when guys started fouling out it put a big dent on our rotation," he said.

Griffin Dingle led the Pointers with 20 points, with Jeff Anderson -- a JV player for most of the season -- adding 17 and Pete Marshall 14.

Havre de Grace fired first, taking a 7-0 lead in the opening 2:35 on a pair of jumpers from Dwight Rabb and a dazzling reverse jam by Kevin Gross.

But Sparrows Point quickly answered. Led by Dingle, the Pointers finished the quarter with a 15-3 run over the final 3:52 to take a 17-13 lead.

The hosts extended their lead to as many as eight points in the second quarter before the Warriors came back with a 10-0 run over the next 58 seconds to regain the lead, 26-24.

Havre de Grace led, 33-30, at the break.

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