Long Reach survives Oakland Mills' big rally, 66-56 Scorps come from 19 down before bowing to Lightning

Boys basketball

January 08, 1998|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Oakland Mills always has been a tough place to play for visiting teams.

No. 18-ranked Long Reach nearly found out exactly how tough last night before it squeezed out a 66-56 victory that wasted a 29-point scoring effort by the home team's Murray Graves.

Midway through the third quarter, Oakland Mills trailed by 19 points. With 2: 23 left to play, that lead was cut to two points. Oakland Mills runs of 11-2 and 12-0, sandwiched around a 5-0 Long Reach run, produced a 56-54 game.

Although the Lightning handled Oakland Mills' full-court press earlier in the game, Long Reach (6-3 overall, 5-0 league) had problems with it in the fourth quarter. Oakland Mills (3-6, 2-3) also started dominating its offensive boards that quarter.

"We started looking at the clock and wishing the game would end," said Long Reach point guard Chris Smith, who led his team with 17 points. "Their press bothered us a lot in the fourth quarter, because we got nervous and weren't coming to the ball."

Smith's driving basket gave Long Reach a 58-54 cushion. Aaron Allen-Henry's block, and then his sensational layup off an assist by Devon Smith, boosted the Lightning's lead to 60-54.

Oakland Mills made one more effort. Graves kept Oakland Mills alive by sinking two free throws. Then a Long Reach turnover, one of six in the fourth quarter, created an opportunity for the Scorpions, but they missed two shots.

Long Reach then took control at the foul line, sinking six straight, including two by Shawn Green (14 points) with 42 seconds left that restored the six-point lead. Oakland Mills followed Green's free throws with a turnover, and Devon Smith sank four free throws to ice it for the Lightning.

"This was a good win, because they blew us out here last season and then wiped out a 10-to-15-point lead to beat us at our place," said Chris Smith, a senior who transferred from Howard when the magnet school opened last year. "I had never beaten them. My varsity teams had lost to them six straight times."

Lack of offensive rebounding and 19 turnovers hurt Oakland Mills through the first three quarters.

"Our turnovers hurt us because the other team usually scores off them," Oakland Mills coach Dave Appleby said. "And we aren't )) quick enough to create many turnovers. We put ourselves in position to win and played hard to the end. We just needed to make a couple more plays."

Graves said: "We played real good defense, especially on Smith in the fourth quarter. But we made some dumb turnovers and couldn't get the ball inside at the end."

Pub Date: 1/08/98

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