Oxon Hill topples Southern, 55-44

Bulldogs' fail to contain Clippers' 6-9 Sweetney

Boys 4A state semifinals

High Schools

March 10, 2000|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- Southern's strategy of double-teaming Oxon Hill's Michael Sweetney with 6-foot-5 junior Willie Joyner and 6-9 sophomore Cairo Frank worked for one half of last night's Class 4A state semifinal at the University of Maryland's Cole Field House.

The second half, particularly the third period, was a different story.

The 6-9, 270-pound Georgetown-bound center scored 15 points in the second half, finished with 12 rebounds and blocked seven shots to lift Oxon Hill into its third straight 4A state title game, 55-44, over No. 2 Southern (20-6).

The Clippers of Prince George's County next face Quince Orchard, a 57-50 winner over Meade, in tomorrow's final.

Oxon Hill has lost the last two state title games, to Gaithersburg and Lake Clifton, respectively, on last-second shots. Sweetney was a sophomore when the Clippers lost to Gaithersburg in five overtimes.

"The kids were a little nervous, but I told the kids at halftime, there's no ghosts here except the ones we created ourselves," said Oxon Hill coach Billy Lanier. "The second half, we started playing the way we're supposed to play, getting the ball to Michael and making good decisions."

All-Metro guard, Melvin Scott led Southern with 15 points.

Oxon Hill (23-3) opened a 38-31 lead by the end of third period, when Sweetney did most of the damage in the paint, and appeared to wear out the Bulldogs, who shot only 4-for-13 in the quarter.

In the fourth period, Southern's Keyon Johnson made it a four-point game (42-38), but the Clippers went back to the inside and Sweetney, whose turnaround layup with 5: 31 started the game-clinching 11-0 run for a commanding 53-38 lead with 2: 46 to play.

Southern did not score again until Melvin Scott sank a free throw with 1: 40 to play.

"We didn't have an answer for him, it was the whole game, not just the fourth quarter," said Southern coach Meredith Smith. "Even when he wasn't scoring, he was a tremendous presence for them because he created easy opportnities for the other kids."

Oxon Hill, a 21-19 leader at halftime, scored the first seven points of the second period for a 14-9 lead. Richard Little started things off, drilling in a three-pointer from the top of the key. Teammate Marcus Artis converted a put- back off a teammate's miss, and Lamar Butler dropped in a jumper.

Southern's William Scott made it, 14-11, however, on a lay-up with 5: 30 left, and teammate Darshawn Luckey's three-pointer made it 14-all -- the third four first-half ties -- with five minutes left in the half.

Down, 15-14, with 4: 02 in the second period after an Oxon Hill free throw, neither team could score until the Clippers' Dustin Reaves banked in a three- pointer along the baseline with two minutes left in the half to make it, 17-14.

Keyon Johnson's free throws cut it to 17-16, Oxon Hill. Luckey blocked two consecutive shots before Oxon Hill's Lamar Butler converted off the miss.

After Scott's three-pointer, however, tied the game at 19-all with 39 seconds left in the half, Butler sank a 12-footer from the top of the key with four seconds left as Oxon Hill took a 21-19 lead into the lockkerroom.

SOUTHERN -- Scott 15, Luckey 14, Jeffers 4, Joyner 2, Johnson 9. 17 5-6 44.

OXON HILL -- Sweetney 19, Little, 6, Reaves, Goss 9, Mohamed 1, Artis 10, Butler 6, Payton 2. Half OH 21-19

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