Hammond takes it inside, trounces Long Reach, 75-58 Bears gain county lead

Lightning loses 4th of 5

Boys basketball

January 15, 1998|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Hammond used its superior inside game to rout Long Reach, 75-58, last night in a battle for first place in Howard County.

The Bears (8-3 overall, 6-1) broke out to a 10-2 advantage and led wire-to-wire by as many as 19 points.

Long Reach (6-5, 5-2) rallied to within seven points, 50-43, with two minutes left in the third quarter but eventually fell to its fourth loss in the last five games.

The Lightning didn't have a player over 6 feet tall, and it showed. Forward Devin Conwell (13 points) was the only inside player who made an impact.

Meanwhile, the taller Bears dominated inside with 6-3 David Hines (10 points), 6-4 Pat Gelinus (11 points, eight rebounds), 6-2 Antwan Oliver (six points) and 6-3 Eric Gertanson (six points).

The Bears also scored frequently off transition, as Long Reach made 15 turnovers.

Hammond's guards, Pat Lally (13 points, three steals, three assists) and Jamar Wise (17 points, eight assists), neutralized Long Reach's guards, Chris Smith (19 points) and Shawn Green (12).

Hammond coach Mark Murray keyed on Smith by rotating fresh defenders every four possessions to make Long Reach's outstanding point guard work harder.

"He's tough to guard. You can't stop Smith. He's going to score his 20 points even with a hand in his face," said Lally. "But the lTC key to playing him is to make him work hard on defense."

Hammond succeeded. Smith fouled out with 4: 23 left to play and Hammond ahead 65-52.

"He's so explosive that he could have made a difference had he stayed in the game," said Lally, who was surprised by the wide margin of victory. "We rebounded better on the defensive boards in the second half, and that made a difference. And we usually have four good ballhandlers on the floor, so we can push it."

Hammond shot 27-for-52 (52 percent) from the floor, including six three-pointers. Long Reach was unable to match that, shooting 23-for-59 (40 percent) with two three-pointers.

Long Reach's quickness forced 17 turnovers from Hammond -- a season-high for the Bears, but the Lightning did not always convert off those turnovers.

"We stunk. It was our worst game of the year," Long Reach coach Al Moraz said. "Maybe we were still down from our loss Friday. We didn't come ready to play."

Pub Date: 1/15/98

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