Randallstown stopped in semifinals, 92-73 Rams miss inside game in loss to Kennedy

March 08, 1996|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

COLLEGE PARK -- All season, the Randallstown Rams throttled Baltimore County opponents with a combination of inside presence and outside touch. When big men Lamont Clark and Dominique Liverpool were on, point guard Troy Lewis had free rein from the perimeter.

In last night's Class 3A state semifinal at Cole Field House, however, coach Kim Rivers saw his jigsaw puzzle of a team crumble before his eyes.

Clark, queasy with the flu, played but four minutes. Liverpool -- a 6-foot-6 enforcer -- sat on the bench in street clothes serving a disciplinary suspension.

Lewis, without anyone in the middle to keep the defense honest, got hounded all night, making three of 16 shots as the defending state champions' season ended with a 92-73 loss to Kennedy of Montgomery County.

The Cavaliers advance to tomorrow's 3 p.m. Class 3A state title game against Dunbar -- an 81-69 winner over Gwynn Park earlier in the day.

"Not having our two big guys hurt a lot," said Rivers. "We weren't able to establish our down-low presence at all. We didn't have an inside, and as a result we had to just run the ball and shoot threes."

But for most of the game, the Rams had even less luck from the perimeter, hitting just two of their first 20 attempts from three-point range before Larry Montgomery (17 points) connected four times in the final four minutes.

By that time, however, Kennedy (16-9) had victory in its grasp.

Led by forward Tyjuan Campbell (25 points), point guard Demarlos Beasley (20) and Dwayne Smith (18), Kennedy shot 65 percent in the second half.

Campbell scored most of his points on layups, Beasley on penetration and Smith on three-pointers. Smith was the Cavaliers' main weapon during the final 4: 50 of the third quarter, taking passes from the penetrating Kenneth Dodd and hitting four three-pointers to help open a 61-46 lead.

"That was the play that really killed them -- our three-man game," said Kennedy first-year coach Orlando Larracuente. "We just decided that we'd run it until they stopped it."

But Randallstown never did.

"I was on fire," said Smith, who said it took the Cavaliers a while to shake a stiff case of the Cole Field House nerves. "Our coach just told us [at halftime] to come out and play our game."

Early on, it looked as if Randallstown (20-5) would coast to its second straight state title game. Led by Brian Broden (20 points) and reserve Mike Brown -- filling in for Clark -- the Rams took a 13-5 lead after the first 6: 15, packing in their defense and forcing Kennedy to shoot from outside.

Kennedy battled back, taking its first lead, 17-16, with 5: 47 to play in the half.

Said Rivers: "I didn't think our kids had the intensity they needed to have to beat this kind of team."

Pub Date: 3/08/96

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