Randallstown pulls away from Bel Air

14-2 closing run lifts Rams in fourth quarter, 43-30

Class 3A North boys basketball

March 05, 2004|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

The Randallstown boys basketball team prepared for a totally different Bel Air squad than the one it met last night in a Class 3A North regional semifinal game.

That was obvious for about three quarters, but the No. 14 Rams went to a smothering man-to-man defense and used a dominating fourth quarter to put away No. 16 and host Bel Air, 43-30.

Frustrated by the Bobcats' deliberate offense, which at times went well over a minute without shooting, the Rams broke open a one-point game to start the fourth quarter, outscoring Bel Air 14-2 the rest of the way.

Forward Melvin Alaeze had 11 points and 10 rebounds and guard Domonic Venable added 12 points as the Rams (20-5) earned a home date with Douglass tomorrow in the Class 3A North championship game.

"From the scouting report, we thought we would be in for a race," said Randallstown coach Kim Rivers. "They were a totally different team than they were against Catonsville. But we pride ourselves on making adjustments."

The best season in Bel Air history ended at 21-3. Junior forward Kevin Goines had eight points and senior forward T.J. Jordan added seven points and five rebounds.

"It's hard to swallow when you do everything you want to do and still come up short," said Bobcats coach Chris Harney. "I thought if we played them straight up, we'd be at a disadvantage, particularly because of their inside play. But give them credit, they didn't get as rattled as we hoped."

Bel Air doesn't have a player on its roster over 6 feet 3. The Rams have four - and that showed as Randallstown out-rebounded Bel Air 25-10 - but their size advantage was negated early.

The Bobcats used a 9-2 run midway through the second quarter to take a 19-18 advantage before two free throws by Louis Birdsong sent the Rams into the locker room with a 20-19 lead.

It was a one-point Randallstown lead again - 29-28 at the end of the third quarter - when Bobcats guard Miguel Negron hit a three-pointer from the left corner.

But after watching his team get beat off the dribble for a couple of easy baskets by Bel Air's Brandon Rodick, Rivers switched to a man-to-man defense for the start of the fourth quarter. The Bobcats, who depend on their guards to drive the lane and then kick it out to the open shooter, never recovered.

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