Patience pays off for Atholton in fourth

Near-perfect period helps No. 19 Raiders hold off Long Reach, 65-59

Boys basketball

High Schools

January 13, 2004|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Simply put, No. 19 Atholton was nearly perfect in the fourth quarter of last night's game with visiting Long Reach.

Atholton made all 14 of its free throws, went 5-for-6 from the field and took control in the final period to hold off a Long Reach rally and pull out a 65-59 victory in a Howard County game.

The Raiders had little trouble early, making seven of their first 14 shots and jumping to a 17-6 first-quarter lead. But Atholton (7-3, 7-1) went cold for most of the second and third quarters while Long Reach (7-3, 6-2) slowly rallied, tying the game at 39 heading into the final period of a game that helped determine first place in the county.

Brandon Boy scored six of his team-high 19 in the fourth quarter. His two free throws gave Atholton the lead for good at 43-41 with 7:16 left, and he went 6-for-6 from the line in the quarter. Craig Sauers added five of his 13 in the period and Jimmy McQuilkin scored five of his 11.

Atholton missed its only two first-half free throws but made 18 of 20 in the second half.

"They shot the eyes out," Long Reach coach Al Moraz said. "You've got to give them credit."

Atholton had gotten away from its patient style of offense during the middle quarters, as Long Reach pushed the tempo. But when the Raiders returned to slowing the pace and showed patience, they controlled the fourth quarter.

"I think we did a good job of running our offense," Atholton coach Jim Albert said. "We were patient on offense and got some good looks."

Said Sauers: "We decided to slow it down and play our game instead of theirs."

Forward/center Jonas Vaitkus (16 points, 10 rebounds) again played a big role inside. The 6-foot-4 senior kept finding shots in the lane when the Raiders rolled on offense and pulled down a number of key rebounds early - sparking a number of second-chance shots.

Atholton made seven three-point shots overall and hit three early to take an 11-point first-quarter lead before cooling off. The Lightning cut the deficit to 29-23 at halftime and began finding more high-percentage shots when pounding the ball inside during the third quarter.

Zach Hines (15 points) and Joey Taylor (14 points) sparked a 12-4 run that gave Long Reach a 37-36 lead with 1:51 left in the third quarter. The Raiders also had problems slowing point guard Mike Smelkinson (14 points), who had five assists.

Atholton then stopped the Long Reach comeback attempts by making nearly all of its fourth-quarter shots. The Lightning made four of its final five shots and scored 10 points in the final 90 seconds - but could cut an eight-point lead to six.

"We've had so many close games that it's really coming together [in the final minutes]," Vaitkus said. "We were finally able to put it all together in the fourth quarter."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.