In unison, Pikesville struts to title

Top-seeded Panthers stuff Rising Sun, 75-51

Boys 1A regional final

March 05, 2000|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

A few times this season, 16th-ranked Pikesville has found its rhythm and shooting stroke. Yesterday was one of those times.

Leading by as many as 36 points, the top-seeded Panthers outscored No. 3 seed and host Rising Sun by at least 10 points in the first and third quarters en route to a convincing 75-51 victory in North East to capture their second consecutive Class 1A North regional championship.

Pikesville has enjoyed some dominating performances, including a 32-point victory against Perry Hall and a 30-point rout of Woodlawn, but the Panthers may have outdone themselves against the Tigers.

Pikesville, which improved to 21-2, shot better than 50 percent from the field (34-for-67) and snatched 23 steals. Meanwhile, Rising Sun (15-8) went 20-for-49 from the field and committed 32 turnovers.

"There have been some games where we've done that," said senior guard Lance Fair, who led the Panthers with 17 points. "Today was one of those days where everything came out perfect."

Craig Amos, who coached Pikesville to solid victories over Harford Tech and Chesapeake of Baltimore, said even he was impressed by yesterday's outburst.

"We're peaking at the right time," said Amos, who hopes to make amends for last season's loss to North Dorchester in the state championship at the University of Maryland's Cole Field House. "It's good to peak when it counts."

Despite a 60-mile bus ride for a 1 p.m. start, the Panthers opened the game with a 5-0 lead. But senior forward Joe Class scored six unanswered points to give Rising Sun its only lead of the game.

Pikesville then went on a 21-9 run to end the first quarter, highlighted by eight points from junior forward Clement Sorgho (who finished with 16 points, five steals and two blocks).

In the second quarter, the Panthers turned up the defensive pressure, grabbing seven steals -- four of which led to eight fast-break points. By halftime, Pikesville enjoyed a 39-25 lead.

The Panthers put the game out of reach in the third period. They connected on 13 of 18 field-goal attempts, gathered eight steals and limited the Tigers to two buckets and three free throws on their way to a 68-32 lead.

By the beginning of the fourth quarter, Amos had replaced his entire starting five.

Junior point guard Andrew Braver said Pikesville always looks to capitalize on its ability to create havoc in the passing lanes.

"We jump right on everyone because we want to cause turnovers and get the fast breaks," he said. "That's when we play our best."

Class led all scorers with 19 points, but that was eight points fewer than his average in Rising Sun's first two playoff games.

"We didn't protect the ball very well today," said Tigers coach Stewart Wilson. "They took advantage of our turnovers, and they were the better basketball team."

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