F.S. Key step above North Carroll, 57-44

Eagles' height advantage is key vs. short-handed Panthers

Rutter scores 16

Boys basketball

High Schools

January 14, 2004|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The North Carroll boys basketball team entered last night's Carroll County game at Francis Scott Key missing two of its tallest players.

So, on a night when Key admittedly played below its expectations, its size advantage inside was enough to lift it to a 57-44 win.

Forward Josh Rutter finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds as Key at times dominated the offensive boards in posting its second straight win following three straight losses.

"We knew we'd probably have a height advantage inside, so we figured if we worked the ball inside we could do well," said Rutter. "We tried to work those [big] guys into the game plan as much as possible."

North Carroll was forced to play without Zach Ritz, a 6-foot-4 junior, and Dan Nott, a 6-3 senior, after both were suspended for their role in a recent on-court altercation. Both will return on Friday when North Carroll travels to Urbana.

Last night, their presence under the basket was sorely missed.

"We knew we were going to be without some people today, so we worked heavily on rebounding. When it came time do to it, though, we just didn't do it," said North Carroll coach Robbie Vaughn.

"We tried to jump with them, and that's been our problem the whole year - we don't box out. Most people are stronger than us and just take it right from us."

Leading by a point midway through the second quarter, the Eagles (4-5 overall, 2-2 county) made the decisive move of the game, scoring eight of the final 10 points of the half, then started the second half with six straight to extend their lead to 33-20.

The lead ballooned to as many as 16 points in the fourth quarter.

"We came out really flat in the beginning, but then our coach got us regrouped," said Rutter. "We started battling, our shots started falling and we started working the ball around and getting everybody involved."

Guard Billy Hoover also scored 13 for the Eagles and 6-6 junior center Ricky Hill finished with 10.

Despite a game-high 17 points from 5-8 senior Jamie Green, the Panthers (4-4, 2-2) never got closer than six in the second half, and shot just 32 percent for the game.

Still, Key coach Jeff Cook came away less than impressed, particularly after his team's dominating, 66-37 win over South Carroll on Friday.

"In the South Carroll game, we played with a lot of intensity and shot the ball well," said Cook. "We didn't do that tonight, but fortunately it happened on a night when they were short some men. The next time, I'm sure they'll be ready for it."

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