Long Reach finishes strong in 71-63 victory over Glenelg

Gross scores 6 of 26 in late run by Lightning

Boys basketball

High schools

January 18, 2001|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

For three quarters last night, the Glenelg Gladiators outplayed and outscored No. 20 Long Reach.

But during a furious final two minutes of the fourth, visiting Long Reach showed why it has been successful this season, closing the game with an impressive 10-2 run to win going away, 71-63.

"That right there is the difference between Long Reach and Glenelg," said Glenelg coach Jeremy Snyder. "They know how to win close games at the end."

That much was evident just by looking at Long Reach's best player, Josh Gross, who scored six of his game-high 26 points during the hectic finish. Gross, who pulled down 11 rebounds and four blocks, also found teammate Jared Bradford underneath the basket for a layup with 25 seconds left, putting things out of reach for Glenelg.

"When we play as a team like that, I think we can win any game that comes to us," Gross said. "We stepped up our intensity because we knew we needed to win this game to stay in first place."

In early goings, Long Reach, now 8-1 in the county and 11-2 overall, looked less like the best team in the league and more like the team that was upset by Atholton on Friday. After a back and fourth first half, Glenelg, which fell to 3-6 in the league and 4-8 overall, came out hot in the third quarter, led by senior Chris Bowen, who finished with 20 points. The team grabbed numerous offensive rebounds and loose balls to take a 49-42 lead.

"We were really ready to play tonight," Snyder said. "We had a great practice [Tuesday] and the intensity I think carried over. I see it every day in the eyes of the kids that they want to win, but we just have to get over the hump."

Long Reach didn't fold when it mattered most, however, and most of the reason was Kevin O'Malley, who still hasn't cracked Al Moraz's starting lineup, but has become an effective weapon off the bench in recent games. Against Glenelg, he hit three big three-pointers and seemed to come up with a basket every time the Lightning looked like it might crack, finishing with 20 points.

"Kevin O'Malley really stepped up offensively and that's what we needed," Moraz said. "I thought they outplayed us for at least three quarters, but our intensity picked up a bunch in the last minute and a half and it helped us get about three layups.

"We're very, very happy to be 11-2 at the halfway point."

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