Central stays on mission, beats Eastern Tech, 62-47

Falcons look to give Fulton one last crown

Boys Class 2A semifinals

High school basketball

March 09, 2002|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - During last night's national anthem, Eastern Tech's Todd Wade took a deep breath and sighed. The eyes of the coach scanned the crowd at Cole Field House as if he were trying to will his No. 14 Mavericks to victory in their first Class 2A state semifinal game in the venue.

Across from Wade was Central boys basketball coach Warren Fulton, whose Falcons have played with the inspiration instilled by his imminent retirement after his 22nd year.

Experience won out for the Falcons, who were led by Torrance Tyson, Elbert Dozier and Davon West in a 62-47 victory.

Tyson scored nine of his 18 points in the third quarter, helping the Falcons take a 50-39 lead into the fourth. West collected nine points and blocked five of six shots in the first half before fouling out with 4:05 to play and his team up 52-44. Dozier scored six of his 16 points in the third quarter, helping to end a six-game winning streak for the Mavericks (19-8).

Under Fulton, who will retire after today's title game against Wicomico (27-0), the Falcons have won state titles every six years - in 1984, '90 and '96. This is the sixth year since the Falcons defeated Aberdeen for the Class 2A crown, and his team has vowed to make him go out a winner.

"We didn't play well at all. We got a little bit out of our game, but I think in the second half, we sort of put it together," said Fulton, whose Falcons have won 10 of their past 11 games.

"This is the way I want to go out. Every coach in the world wants to go out playing for a championship."

The Mavericks were led by Rudy Gay and Vernon Irvine with 13 points each. Gay's three-pointer had the Mavericks within 39-33 midway through the third quarter, but the Falcons opened the quarter by shooting 5-for-7, using an 11-6 run for a 50-39 lead entering the fourth.

With 3:32 to play, Gay sparked the Mavericks' crowd with a three-point play that brought the Mavericks within 52-47. But an Eastern Tech turnover allowed Tyson's layup to give Central a seven-point lead.

Eastern Tech had 18 turnovers overall, five in the final quarter.

"That's what happens when you've never been here and you don't know what to do," Wade said. "That's about as pressure-packed as it can get. Having to score in a tight game. I think we threw it away three out of four possessions."

Consecutive three-pointers by Tyson and Neal Tucker lifted the Falcons to an 18-8 lead in the first quarter. West's three-point play and Tucker's two free throws widened the margin to 31-17 with 3:12 before halftime, but Central led 33-26 at halftime after allowing a 9-2 to close the quarter.

Central plays in the final at 6 p.m. against unbeaten Wicomico (27-0), whose 68-61 victory over North Hagerstown (22-4) ended the Hubs' 13-game winning streak.

EASTERN TECH-Gay 13, McKay 8, Irvine 13, McCall 11, Wright 2. Totals: 19 8-12 47.

CENTRAL-West 9, Henderson 7, Dozier 16, Tyson 18, Tucker 10, Murphy 2. Totals: 21 18-25 62. Half: 33-26, C.

Coming soon

Publication dates of high school pages of interest:

March 13: All-County wrestling

March 14: All-County basketball

March 20: Spring preview section

March 25: Winter All-Metro section

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