Black's hot hand sparks Key

Eagles up just two, guard scores game's last 6 points to stop Middletown, 62-54

Boys basketball

January 10, 2002|By Nathan Max | Nathan Max,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Francis Scott Key senior guard Chuck Black had good reason to be upset with his coach last night.

With Key clinging to a two-point lead and 1:39 remaining in its Monocacy Valley Athletic League game against Middletown, Eagles coach Terry Brant called time out a split-second before Black buried a three-pointer that would have put the Eagles up five.

But instead of fuming, Black took over after the pause.

His six straight points over a 41-second stretch, including a three-point play 19 seconds after the timeout, powered Key to a 62-54 victory.

"I had to come back and get it," said Black, who scored 10 of his 19 points in the game's final 5:35. "I was mad, because it felt good when it left. I just had to get another one."

Key led 56-54 when Black's three-pointer was waved off, and 13 seconds after the timeout, senior guard Jordan Ricketts missed the front end of a one-and-one. But Key junior center Chris Bassler slapped the rebound to midcourt, where Black grabbed it, drove straight to the basket, laid it in and was fouled.

Black, who also had six rebounds, two assists, a steal and a blocked shot, converted his free throw, snared a rebound on the defensive end and hit three of four more from the line to give the Eagles their final margin of victory.

"What happened was we had a guy injured, and we couldn't be a man down. But wouldn't you know it, our guy hits a three-pointer just when you call timeout," said Brant. "The mental toughness is he came back in and got it the old-fashioned way."

Before Black's heroics, it was the 6-foot-5 Bassler who led Key (6-6, 4-4 MVAL) with 19 points on 6-for-11 shooting, 13 rebounds, two assists, one steal and one blocked shot.

Sophomore guard John Keimig scored 19 points and had seven rebounds for Middletown (5-5, 3-3), which lost its fourth straight.

Key shot far better from the field, but Middletown stayed close because the Eagles took 16 fewer shots. The Knights finished 22-for-69 (32 percent) from the floor, while Key converted 25-for-53 (47 percent). Middletown, however, made seven three-pointers, including three that tied the game in the second half.

After Middletown guard Jack O'Leary tied the score at 52 with a three-pointer with 4:04 remaining, Key junior forward Ray Sheedy and Black hit back-to-back shots off the backboard to put the Eagles up four. Chris Keimig brought Middletown to 56-54 with 1:52 to play, but Black then scored the game's final six points.

"We really rely on Chuck to make plays like that when the game's on the line," Bassler said. "He's really the only guy we got that can break guys down and score."

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