No. 6 Southwestern bounces back, 56-46 Sabers recover from loss to Douglass, beat Suitland

City, Mervo lose in mixer

December 21, 1997|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

LARGO -- Baltimore City teams had things go their way in winning the Baltimore-D.C. Challenge earlier this month, but yesterday city representatives found their second trip to the Washington area a little rougher at the Prince George's County Tip-Off Mixer.

No. 15 Mervo and City were both losers, while No. 6 Southwestern was the lone Baltimore winner, defeating Suitland, ranked No. 15 in the Washington area, 56-46.

Central defeated Mervo, 70-65, and Fairmont Heights blitzed City, 81-51, in games played at Prince George's Community College.

After losing by 22 points to No. 14 Douglass on Friday, Southwestern bounced back strong with a solid defensive performance against Suitland.

Chris Green led Southwestern (4-3) with 20 points and Artie Neal added 15 and five assists. Travis Clegg led Suitland (4-2) with 20 points.

Outside of Clegg, a lanky 6-foot-5 forward, Suitland wasn't able to generate much offense against the Sabers' swarming defense, which forced 26 turnovers.

Leading the defensive charge for the Sabers was Neal, a 5-5 point guard, who had five steals. Green had eight rebounds and Kevin Bethea had seven rebounds and six blocked shots.

"After yesterday's game, some of the guys weren't even sweating," said Southwestern interim coach Vernon Joines. "Some were looking for an angle out, and today I wasn't going to have that."

It was the Sabers' third game without Terry Leverett, who has been removed as coach pending an investigation of his behavior toward referees following Southwestern's loss during a recent game at Randallstown.

Leading 41-37 midway through yesterday's final game, Southwestern began pulling away as Neal hit a three-pointer and Carr turned a steal into an easy layup to open a 46-37 lead with 3: 47 remaining.

Suitland closed to within six points, at 52-46 with 1: 18 left, but a free throw by Carr was followed by a layup by Green -- off a pass from Neal -- to put the game away at 55-46 with 43 seconds left.

"After the Douglass game, everybody was frustrated and was too serious," Neal said. "The game of basketball is about having fun, playing hard and winning with defense."

Suitland had the lead only on a couple of occasions in the second half, the last coming with 3: 29 left in the third quarter at 28-26 after a dunk by Clegg.

The Sabers worked the ball inside to Green, who was fouled and made two free throws, before Neal came up with a steal and a basket for a 30-28 lead.

A basket by Clegg tied the game at 30, but Archie Williams came off the bench to score two baskets, giving Southwestern the lead for good.

City coach Daryl Wade had prepared his team to face Oxon Hill, but withdrawals by Oxon Hill and Woodson (D.C.), left the Knights to play tournament host Fairmont Heights.

It wasn't long before City (4-1) would have its its perfect record spoiled in the most lopsided game of the day.

Fairmont Heights scored the game's first seven points and had an 18-5 lead after one quarter. The lead was at 32-9 midway through the second quarter.

The Knights showed some life, scoring eight straight to make it 32-17, but Fairmont Heights scored nine of the final 11 points of the first half and held a 41-19 lead at the break.

"We didn't know anything about them they just showed up and played," said Wade, whose team plays Mervo on Tuesday. "They are a very good team, but we played terrible. We didn't execute and were lackadaisical."

Warren Smith was the only double-digit scorer for City with 14 points. Donnie Miller led Fairmont Heights with 15, and Shawn Ross added 11.

In the opening game, Bernard Boley scored 24 points and Edsel Lindsey added 16, leading Central (3-2) past Mervo (2-2).

The Mustangs were within 66-64 with 16.4 seconds remaining in the game, but couldn't get their hands on the rebound after Central missed a free throw.

With 14.7 seconds left, Sean Brooks of Central, who grabbed the rebound and was fouled, made the first shot then missed the second of a one-and-one opportunity. But again, Mervo was unable to get the rebound, leading to another free throw by Brooks with 11.8 seconds left for a 68-64 lead.

"Things that happened before that put us in that situation," said Mervo coach Woody Williams. "We missed some foul shots and made some costly turnovers, and that has been plaguing us the last couple of ballgames."

Damien Jenifer and Marcus Hatten each led Mervo with 24 points and Hugh Brown added 10. Brooks finished with 12 for the Falcons.

The Mustangs led 35-31 at halftime, but Central took over in the opening minutes of the second half with a run to take the lead for good.

Pub Date: 12/21/97

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