Brunswick knock out Oakland Mills

Scorpions' comeback falls short after missing final 4 shots

Boys 1A regional final

High Schools

March 05, 2000|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

BRUNSWICK -- When Brunswick took a 17-point first-quarter lead against Oakland Mills in last night's Class 1A South region championship, Railroaders coach Jim Sklenar knew anxious moments were ahead. He was right.

"I knew they would come back," Sklenar said, "because that's Oakland Mills. They're tough kids and are used to winning."

The Scorpions capped their courageous comeback when Brian Grund's three-point basket gave them a three-point lead with 2: 50 left to play. But Oakland Mills missed its final four shots, and the Railroaders scored the final eight points for a 54-49 victory before a standing-room only crowd.

"No team really deserves to take a loss like they did tonight," said Brunswick guard Zack Bordon, whose three-point basket with 1: 30 remaining gave the Railroaders a 50-49 lead. "They had the heart to come back from being down 21-6 [at the end of the first quarter]. They probably fought harder then anyone we've played."

After Bordon's basket, Oakland Mills' Varnaz Nicholson (10 points) missed a three-pointer with just under a minute. Brunswick (23-2), which will be going to state tournament for the fourth time in 18 seasons under Sklenar, worked the ball around before finding Roscoe Dorsey underneath for a layup with 37 seconds.

The Scorpions (16-9) called a time out with 29 seconds to set up a game-tying shot. Brian Grund had a good look at the basket, but his shot with six seconds left bounced off the front rim. Brunswick got a fast-break dunk by Dorsey to end the game.

It was a heartbreaking way to lose, but the Scorpions showed a lot about their character in the final three quarters. They came back to make things interesting, just as they have since midway through the season after two seniors left the team.

"I'm very proud," said Oakland Mills coach Dave Appleby, whose team consists of three seniors, three juniors and six sophomores. "We exceeded our expectations since the middle of January. We've won 12 of 13 not counting tonight.

"This was expected to be a rebuilding year," Appleby added. "To get as far as we did is great. The kids did a great job."

Brunswick looked like world-beaters in the opening quarter. Behind 6-foot-5, 320-pound senior Mike Dykes and 6-6, 260-pound Wes Shafer, the Railroaders controlled the inside, got second shots and raced to a 21-4 lead with 1: 12 left in the first quarter.

"The first quarter was a disaster," Appleby said. "We weren't doing a lot of things right defensively."

Said Lester Jones (12 points): "We were physically ready but not mentally ready."

And Brunswick's home crowd grew louder with every basket. "The crowd was in the game," Cyril Chesson said. "It's a different feeling away from home."

Oakland Mills, which slowed Brunswick down with a zone defense, got to within 11 on Nicholson's basket with just under five minutes left in the second quarter. Kyle Barnett's basket with 3: 52 left gave Brunswick a 30-15 lead, but that's when the Scorpions' comeback began in earnest.

Oakland Mills outscored the Railroaders, 10-2, and all the Scorpions' points came from Chesson, whose turnaround jumper in the lane couldn't be stopped. Suddenly, Brunswick's lead was seven.

Chesson didn't score again in the game, as Brunswick collapsed on him and Oakland Mills looked more to outside shots.

The Railroaders started the third quarter on an 8-2 run for a 40-28 lead with 5: 49 left, but Oakland Mills scored the period's final 10 points to make it a two-point game going into the final quarter.

Patrick Oster's three-pointer with 7: 42 left in the game gave Oakland Mills its first lead, 41-40. Brunswick scored the next six points, but a three-point play by Jones and another Jones basket tied the game at 46-all with 3: 52. A minute later, Grund hit his three-pointer for the Scorpions last lead.

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