F.S. Key upsets Middleton, 54-43 Missing top rebounder, Eagles use zone to win

Boys basketball

January 15, 1998|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

Francis Scott Key broke away from a tie in the final four minutes and went on to upset visiting Middletown, 54-43, in a Monocacy Valley Athletic Conference meeting last night.

It was the first conference loss in six starts for the Knights, who dropped to 8-2 overall. Their only other loss was to Hagerestown's St. Maria Goretti, 76-39. The victory enabled Key (8-3, 4-3) to halt a three-game losing streak.

The win was especially satisfying for coach Jeff Cook and his Eagles because they were without Kevin DeCarlo, their leading rebounder and second-leading scorer.

The 6-foot-4, 230-pound senior was injured in practice and will be sidelined indefinitely. X-rays showed a broken bone in his left ankle, although it may be an old break. Doctors plan to wait two weeks before deciding what to do next.

Key got good efforts from unheralded Steve Webb and Tony Mallardi, as well as solid production from Josh Hollman, Vince Stonesifer, and Andy Jenkins.

Mallardi, a 5-foot-9 guard, had his most extensive playing time and responded with some tough defense, as well as 12 points, a good job of working against the Knights' pressure defense.

Stonesifer (12 points), Jenkins (nine points), and Webb, at 6-4, 6-4 and 6-3, respectively, were effective inside in the Eagles' tight 2-3 zone defense, disrupting the Knights' slightly taller front line.

Mallardi helped the Eagles stretch their lead in the closing minutes, making four of seven chances from the foul line.

Hollman, a 17-point scorer, had 18 for the winners, including three three-pointers in the second quarter that helped produce a 25-21 halftime lead for his side. The visitors tied it at 31 and later at 41, but each time Key came back to open a nine-point margin.

"We changed our defense, and the players picked it up well," Cook said. "I think it bothered them." It did to the extent the Knights were a weak 14-for-49 from the floor.

"We were totally out of sync," Middletown coach Tim Leber said. "We had minimal intensity and didn't weather their storm."

Pub Date: 1/15/98

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