Long Reach stymies Hebron

2nd-half defensive change on dominating Toback sparks rally to 57-56 win

Boys basketball

High Schools

January 30, 2000|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Long Reach was having a recurring nightmare.

Mount Hebron's 6-foot-6 center Eric Toback, who scored 29 points in an earlier victory against the Lightning, had 18 points at halftime yesterday at Mount Hebron, and the talented junior was scoring from a variety of locations including two three-pointers.

At halftime, Long Reach coach Al Moraz decided to switch to a box-and-one defense and inserted Asan Korvah to guard Toback.

The result? Toback scored just three points in the second half and Long Reach (9-5 overall, 7-3 league), which trailed for three quarters, rallied for a 57-56 win. The Lightning moved a game in front of Mount Hebron (9-5, 6-4) in the county standings.

"I think the box won it for us," Moraz said. "The kid [Toback] was dominating, and there was nothing else we could do. We worked on it a lot in practice, and Asan is our best defensive player."

Toback (21 points, nine rebounds, two blocks) rarely touched the ball in the second half. He said it was the first time this season his team has faced a box-and-one.

Vikings coach John Aquila said: "Toback was being double-teamed low and away from the ball, and that should have left three of their players covering four of ours. But our wing players would not step up in the gaps and shoot like they needed to."

Aquila was puzzled about how his team, in a match-up zone defense, had been called for nine fouls late in the second half while Long Reach, which pressed full court, was called for four fouls.

"The same thing happened to us our last game against Wilde Lake," Aquila said. "Toback, who gets grabbed, shoved and pushed the entire game, has only been to the line six times in two games. That's not right."

Long Reach's Josh Gross scored a game-high 23 points.

"This was a big game for second place and we owed them one," Gross said. "In the middle of the third quarter we picked it up defensively and turned it around."

Long Reach trailed by nine points before going on an 11-2 run at the start of the fourth quarter. Five players scored during the run that put the Lightning ahead 53-43 with three minutes to play.

Led by Derok Roach (13 points) and Jonny Norman (10 points) and a three-pointer by Franklin Berry, Mount Hebron rallied to within one point with 12 seconds left. Long Reach went to the foul line with three seconds left and missed both, but Berry's desperation half-court shot missed.

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