Hemsley helps Southern overwhelm Paint Branch Bulldogs move to final with 74-35 romp

March 08, 1996|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

During the luncheon for the state semifinals on Tuesday Southern coach Meredith Smith said he was surprised to be playing Paint Branch instead of Springbrook or Montgomery Blair.

It didn't make a difference last night.

The No. 3 Bulldogs overwhelmed the Panthers of Montgomery County, ranked No. 20 in the Washington area, 74-35, in a state 4A semifinal at the University of Maryland. John Hemsley led all scorers with 22 points for Southern (23-3) and Dedric Galloway added 20. Larry Williams led Paint Branch (14-9).

The Bulldogs, ranked No. 16 by USA Today, will play Northwestern of Prince George's County, ranked No. 9 in the Washington area, for the state championship tomorrow night at 8.

Southern, seeking a third state championship in four seasons, dominated from midway in the opening period, building a 20-point halftime lead and never leading by fewer than 23 points in the second half.

"The kids have pretty much played solid all season," said Smith. "On any given night, any of the kids can step up, and I thought everybody played well tonight."

The Bulldogs out-rebounded Paint Branch, 42-20, and out-shot them 27-for-50 from the field compared to 15-for-49.

After a basket by Darian Lee, ending a seven-minute scoreless drought for Paint Branch, the Bulldogs went on a 9-2 run to open the second half to build a 43-16 advantage after a three-pointer by Galloway.

The lead was 54-26 after three periods after a three-pointer by Galloway at the buzzer from about 30 feet. The Bulldogs' lead grew as large as 42 before Smith began clearing his bench with more than two minutes remaining.

"They have a lot of Division I players on that team," said Paint Branch coach Hank Galotta. "They reacted well to the ball and they're well-coached. I wish we were able to give them a game."

Southern had a slightly different look to begin the game, as junior Jelani Wise got the starting nod over regular and senior Brian Kennedy.

Hemsley started strong for Southern, scoring 10 points, including consecutive three-pointers, giving the Bulldogs a 16-8 first-quarter margin as they controlled the boards with four offensive rebounds.

Hemsley skied over a Paint Branch defender to follow a miss by Galloway to open the second quarter, but was on the bench moments later with his second foul.

Paint Branch scored four straight to close within 18-12, then the Bulldogs began to assume complete control, scoring the final 14 points before halftime to take a 32-12 lead.

The Bulldogs worked the ball inside to Pointer, who scored seven points in the quarter as Pointer (nine points), Hemsley (12) and Galloway (nine) carried the offensive load.

Pub Date: 3/08/96

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