Magruder repels Glen Burnie in OT

Eyeing 1st final since '61, Gophers fade late, 67-63

Class 4A boys basketball

High School

March 14, 2003|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - Leading by five with 1:41 left in regulation, Glen Burnie looked like it was headed to its first state boys basketball final since 1961.

But Magruder forced overtime and then sank 11 of 14 free throws in the extra four-minute session to outlast a valiant Gophers team, 67-63, in a Class 4A East state semifinal at the Comcast Center last night.

The Colonels (22-3) of Montgomery County advanced to tomorrow's 8 p.m. Maryland Public Secondary Athletic Association 4A state final against Oxon Hill.

Magruder won its only state title in 2001.

Junior guard Brandon Giles had a game-high 25 points for Magruder, including 10 of 12 from the line and six straight in the final 2:30 of regulation.

A Giles free throw with 30 seconds left in overtime gave Magruder a 64-59 lead that proved to be too much for Glen Burnie to overcome.

"Brandon is a great leader for a junior and he wants to be there [at the line] and that's half the battle," Magruder coach Dan Harwood said.

It was a tough loss for the 10th-ranked Gophers (19-6) and their fans who crammed into seven buses to see their school's first semifinal appearance since 1994.

"I can't say enough about our fans and school spirit," said seventh-year Glen Burnie coach Mike Rudd, a Gophers grad.

"There must have been 1,100 of our 1,800 students at Glen Burnie dressed in red and white today. I may coach another 10-15 years, but I will never have a group this special."

Among Rudd's special players was junior guard Mitch Guest, who led his team with 23 points and five assists last night. Another junior, Brandon Albert, who is 6 feet 7 and 230 pounds, had 20 points for the Gophers.

Albert and Guest drew high praise from Magruder coach Harwood, who put 6-3 Richard Smith on the 5-9 Guest in the final period. It was a crucial move as Smith shut down Guest, who blamed himself for the loss.

"I can't go out like this, " said Guest. "I can't take losing like this. I felt like I choked and let my team down at the foul line."

Actually, Guest, who got the Gophers to the semifinal by sinking four straight from the line to upset Thomas Johnson, made the free throw last night that tied the game at 52 with 26 seconds left and sent it into overtime.

Guest was 3-for-6 overall, but it was turnovers and a lack of rebounding late in overtime that hurt the Gophers.

And the Gophers were 8-for-17 at the line for the game.

"They got more loose balls and just outhustled us at the end," said Guest, whose nine-point third period - including a three at the buzzer - gave the Gophers a 36-34 lead.

"They seemed like they got every loose ball and they made plays down the stretch. That was the difference in the game."

M-Giles 25, Argueta 11, Leiter 7, Roach 9, R. Smith 11, Kincaid 4. Totals 18 24-30 67. GB-Guest 23, Sherrod 6, Albert 20, C. Newton 2, M. Newton 11, Lawson 1. Totals 26 8-17 63. Half: M, 25-17.

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