Long Reach hangs in, puts away McDonough Down 7 with 3: 55 left, Lightning triumphs by 8

March 06, 1998|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Five times in the second half last night, Charles County's McDonough made runs that threatened to put the game out of reach. Each time host Long Reach answered.

Long Reach's last answer was final. It gave the Lightning a 79-71 Class 2A South region semifinal victory and a spot in Saturday's region championship game against the winner of last night's Prince George's County rivalry, Surrattsville vs. Central.

McDonough's fifth second-half run put it ahead by seven points, 65-58, with 3: 55 to play.

"We were a little out of sync offensively, so we called time and told them to make sure Devin Conwell touched the ball at least once every time down the floor," Long Reach coach Al Moraz said. "Devin took over, even though he had four fouls and was wearing two rolls of tape and a brace on his ankle."

Conwell, a 6-foot-1 sophomore forward who had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the game, scored three crucial baskets during those final four minutes. The second one tied it, 69-69, with 1: 33 to play. The third one tied it, 71-71, with 52 seconds left.

Then it was Turon Kosh's turn to make a big play. He forced a turnover, diving on the floor for a steal with 45 seconds left. Kosh scored eight points, had seven rebounds, six steals and six assists. McDonough, which had upset Fairmont Heights Tuesday, made 23 turnovers.

Long Reach's senior point guard Chris Smith (25 points, five rebounds, three assists, three steals) drove and scored to put the Lightning ahead for the first time in the second half, 73-71, with 33 seconds left.

McDonough, which had been nine-for-nine at the foul line in the fourth period, then missed two free throws and the 5-foot-11 Kosh came up with the rebound and fed Smith for a fast-break layup.

Smith also was fouled on the play. He missed the free throw, but Long Reach's sophomore forward Tally White (10 points, 10 rebounds) rebounded and fed Shawn Green, who was fouled.

Green (19 points, three assists, three steals), who already had made two clutch baskets in the final four minutes, sank both free throws for a 77-71 Long Reach lead with 21 seconds left.

McDonough (15-10) missed a three-pointer and Green, a senior guard, sank two final free throws.

L Long Reach (17-8) was last season's Class 1A state runnerup.

"We wanted people to think last year wasn't a fluke," Kosh said. "Shawn always comes through for us. We just never give up. We've come back so often."

Long Reach overcame a superlative effort by McDonough's 6-8 center, Jerry Parker, who scored 24 points and had 22 rebounds.

Pub Date: 3/06/98

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