River Hill finds range, dispatches Hammond

Steenberge dominates as Hawks bump Bears from 1st-place tie, 61-34

Boys basketball

January 10, 2002|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

River Hill regained its shooting touch, while Hammond struggled mightily to score.

Six-foot-10 center Kevin Steenberge had what has become for him an average game -- 23 points, 22 rebounds and 10 blocked shots -- in the Hawks' 61-34 victory that kept them in first place and knocked Hammond out of the top spot.

What had been a four-way tie among the Hawks, Bears, Glenelg and Long Reach was reduced to two by virtue of Glenelg's 56-44 loss to Mount Hebron last night. Long Reach kept pace by defeating Oakland Mills, 72-62.

"We played a lot better today than we did Friday," Hawks coach Brian Van Deusen said, referring to 28 percent shooting and a 39-37 loss to Centennial. "We played tough defense and scored a lot of baskets because of the defense. I challenged them to bounce back after Friday and they showed their heart tonight."

Hammond (7-4 overall, 4-3 league) shot a pitiful 13-for-59 (22 percent), including 1-for-14 in the second quarter when it was outscored 14-2. The Hawks (8-3, 5-2) themselves shot only 5-for-14 that period.

Hammond, playing without head coach Mark Murray because he was ejected from Friday's 72-52 loss to Glenelg, led after one period 13-12 largely because River Hill shot 5-for-16 that quarter and made six turnovers.

The Hawks made just three more turnovers the rest of the game, however, and had little trouble getting the ball to Steenberge.

"It was easy to just shoot over their players tonight," Steenberge said. "They didn't have anyone that was tall enough. It was also easy to block their shots because they didn't protect it well. And we out-rebounded them all night."

River Hill received some accurate outside shooting from its guards, especially Ivan Abrams (10 points) and Wes McCoy (12 points). The Hawks also shot an impeccable 16-for-19 at the free-throw line, while the Bears struggled at 6-for-12.

The Bears shot no better in the fourth period, making just three of 22 shots.

"This is the second straight game we've shot poorly," said Murray after watching the game on tape. "In the Glenelg loss Friday, we shot 30 percent and were outscored 17-4 in the second period. We got outhustled and outplayed tonight at every position. We missed uncontested layups. Our shot selection was terrible and we didn't move the ball around.

"And anytime you score two points in a quarter you are not going to win many games. There's no fight in us right now."

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