15 in row for Severn, after win over Gilman Admirals triumph, 71-65

Hatch has 17, Melton hurt

February 08, 1997|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Late in the second quarter last night, Severn's best player and leading scorer, Denard Melton, was knocked out of the game with a head injury.

Without the school's top athlete, the Admirals flinched, but they didn't break against Gilman, dominating down the stretch for a 71-65 victory in an overflowing gymnasium at Severn.

The Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Division victory almost guaranteed top billing in the tournament for Severn (16-3, 10-1), which won for the 15th straight time.

"Denard had a head contusion, and we didn't want to jeopardize it at all," said Admirals coach Charles (Tank) Duckett. "He averages 23-24 points a game and is a big-time ballhandler, so it changed everything."

Melton, who was on the floor for 10 minutes after a collision, was taken to a nearby hospital for precautionary X-rays.

Severn started by scoring the first seven points of the game and was breezing by 36-24 at the half.

But Gilman, which beat Severn in Anne Arundel County last year, launched a steady, determined second-half rally. By the start of the fourth period, the Greyhounds were only one down, 49-48.

In the fourth period, Gilman went up for the first time, 53-52, with 6: 09 to play on a follow shot by Chisolm Opara, who scored all 17 of his points after the break.

A drive by David Chalmers (13 points) pushed the Greyhounds ahead by two, 55-53, before Winston Johnson tied the game for Severn and Greg Cooper tallied on the break to regain the lead, 57-55.

A three-pointer by Cooper and an inside basket by Jeff Hatch gave the Admirals a seven-point cushion, and Gilman never quite got back in a game lengthened considerably by late fouls.

"We had to pull up some bootstraps and show some character," said Duckett. "Hatch and Johnson had some big baskets and got some key rebounds. We made the plays we had to."

Hatch finished with 17 points, Cooper had 13, including nine after halftime, and Jeff Haskins had 12. Melton scored eight points before being idled by the injury.

"I don't know what we shot, but our foul shooting wasn't very good [21 of 39]," said Gilman coach Tony Jordan. "That was basically the difference."

Jordan was proud of his team for making a big second-half surge and lauded his defense. "But they're a tough team, and they did a good job of getting it inside," he said. "We just came up a little short."

Pub Date: 2/08/97

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