Stall proves the get-up that gets Hebron going

Howard's tactic sparks Vikings to 27-24 victory, move into first in county

Boys basketball

January 11, 2000|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Want to make Mount Hebron's players happy? Just hold the ball.

"It pumps us up and the crowd loves it," said Mount Hebron's Matt White.

Jonny Norman, White's teammate, said: "Yeah, and the other team starts to hate their coach."

Such was the scenario last evening at Mount Hebron where the No. 20-ranked Vikings (8-2 overall, 5-1 league) prevailed, 27-24, despite Howard's effort to stall against the Vikings' match-up zone defense.

The victory tied the Vikings with Centennial for first place in the county.

Howard (3-7, 1-5) was the third team this season to use the stall against Mount Hebron, and the Vikings have won all three games.

"If the other team wants to sit in a zone and I think we don't match up well, then we are going to make them come to us," Howard coach Art St. Martin said. "I know the fans will boo, but we're not here to please the fans. The object of the game is to win. I'm happy. For the first time all season, my team showed some discipline."

He may have been happy, but not all of his players were. A disgruntled Donnell Smith, who rode the bench, said afterward: "The reason we lost the game is because our coach made us hold the ball."

St. Martin obviously disagreed. "If we had run with them, I don't think we'd have stayed this close. I'd have held it the whole game with a 2-0 lead."

Mount Hebron scored first on a steal and layup by Matt White after Howard had stalled for over two minutes of the first quarter.

Norman made two baskets to put the Vikings up, 6-0.

But Howard went on an 8-0 run to lead 8-6 with 4: 20 left in the second quarter. A three-pointer by Eric Toback tied it 10-10 with 1: 13 left in the half, and White's layup at the buzzer made it 12-10 for the Vikings.

The Vikings led 16-10 before the Lions went on another 8-0 run and took an 18-16 lead after three periods.

Howard stalled the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, until White stole the ball and scored a three-point play to put his team ahead, 19-18. The Vikings completed a 9-0 run with 3: 38 to play on a steal and jumper by Norman to lead, 25-18.

A 6-0 run by Howard made it 25-24 with four seconds left, as Darius Hammond (eight points) made two rebounds and sank his third layup attempt completing that run.

Toback, a 6-foot-5 center, sank two free throws with one second left to clinch it. He had 10 points, four rebounds and three blocked shots.

Louis Matthews scored six points, had six rebounds and two blocked shots for Howard.

Neither team shot well. Mount Hebron hit 35 percent (11-for-31) from the field. Howard made 33 percent (10-for-30).

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