South Carroll finds ways to win Boys basketball: Short and inexperienced, the Cavaliers are nevertheless 6-3 and on a three-game roll. They'll learn more about their potential in Frederick tomorrow.

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

Given a squad with only one player taller than 6-foot-2, overpowering opponents is not exactly a coaching option. The job becomes a case of finding ways to frustrate them.

South Carroll coach Jim Carnes, in his 22nd season, has found enough ways for his team to get the job done that the Cavaliers are on a three-game winning streak and have won four of their last in boosting their record to 6-3.

The team is 3-0 in the Central Maryland Conference, and gets leader Thomas Johnson (6-2, 4-0) tomorrow night in Frederick.

"The team in general? I think we are a little better than I expected, but we are really inexperienced," Carnes said

yesterday. Of the 13 players, three are seniors and the rest juniors.

The seniors are returning starter John Ely, an All-County guard last year; 5-8 Aaron Dorsey, starting point guard after a season of sharing the position; and 6-1 reserve Jimmy Shea. Such is the height situation that when 6-7 junior Sam McGrane is out, Carnes goes with four sub-6-foot guards and a small forward.

To this point, the team effort has been a committee project. Ely, who has scored in double figures every game and averages 17, has been complemented by six teammates who have scored at least 10 in a game.

"It seems that somebody different steps up each game," Carnes said, citing Adam Hynes, David Keefer, and Kevin Damiano among that number. The 5-8 Damiano, a proven long-range shooter, had one of his most productive nights with four treys in Tuesday's 53-52 win over North Carroll.

McGrane, averaging 11 points and, more importantly to the team, nine rebounds, saw his double-figure streak end at eight when he collected eight (all in the last 12 minutes) against North Carroll.

"I think I'm a better shooter than I was last year, and my rebounds are up, but that's because we lost a lot of height and we really don't have anybody else big inside," the center said.

McGrane and his teammates got outhustled and outplayed for the first 20 minutes against North Carroll and were down nine in the third quarter. The comeback surge began about the time McGrane picked up his intensity.

He battled for the ball, got some rebounds, gave North Carroll some problems with his defense, and hit key baskets. One was a conversion of an alley-oop pass from Ely 20 seconds into the fourth quarter that sent South Carroll ahead, 41-40.

"They were making me mad," McGrane said of his strong work down the stretch. "I've seen a lot of double-teams and end up kicking the ball outside. I'd like to get the ball down low more because I'm taller than most, but our outside shooters have done a good job.

"Thomas Johnson will be a good test because we haven't won up there in a long time." It will be a special test for McGrane, who will face Levi Watkins, the Patriots' rapidly improving, 6-6 freshman.

Dorsey had been in the background until being thrust into the spotlight by his game-winning free throw with one second left Tuesday. Recognition usually comes to scorers, but the point guard knows his team doesn't [usually] need his points, and that's not his job, anyway.

"I'm learning to calm down," Dorsey said. "Last year, I tended to rush things. My first priority is to give up the ball. I bring the ball up, set up, and pass off -- and I'd rather do that anyway."

Of the Cavs' recent double-overtime victory over Linganore he said: . "They pressed us a lot, and we did a good job against it. Lots of teams are pressing us, and we're getting better at beating it. We like to press, too, and we're gaining more confidence with it. You win games with hustle."

Carnes admitted his team was lucky to win its last game, and now the Cavs will need more than luck against Thomas Johnson.

Tuesday night, the Patriots raced to a 44-25 halftime lead on Linganore and won easily, 81-49. Scoring leader David Stone, a 6-2 senior, has been the workhorse with a blue-collar ethic.

Pub Date: 1/15/98

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