Long Reach has answers

Lightning raises record to 23-2, reaches 3A East final with victory over Aberdeen

Long Reach 55 Aberdeen 45

Boys basketball

March 03, 2006|By PAT O'MALLEY | PAT O'MALLEY,SUN REPORTER

Patience and contributions from its bench carried host and No. 9-ranked Long Reach to a 55-45 win over Aberdeen in the Class 3A East semifinals last night.

In a matchup between the Howard County-champion Lightning and the Eagles, champions of the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference, Long Reach pulled away in the final period to advance to the regional final.

The Lightning (23-2) will host No. 14 Annapolis (19-5), a 59-31 winner over Fallston, at 7 p.m. tomorrow, attempting to advance to its first final four since 1997.

That was the school's first year and Al Moraz Sr. coached Long Reach into the Class 1A final, in which it lost, 60-51, to Edgewood.

Al Moraz Jr., who was an assistant to his father at the time, is now the Lightning's head coach, with his father an assistant.

"We all like this team," Moraz Jr. said.

"Keith Richardson stepped up for us tonight down the stretch. And four guys off the bench did a great job for us."

With leading scorer Darryl Webb in early foul trouble and only scoring 13 points, just seven through three periods, Richardson contributed all 10 of his in the second half. He scored seven points in the final period.

Daevon Wall had a game-high 17 points for the Lightning, while Kyle Cohen, Jeff Suter, Michael Bowden and Jay Washington contributed points, rebounds and blocked shots off the bench.

Bowden had two blocked shots down the stretch, while Washington had two points, three rebounds and a blocked shot in the second half.

"We didn't box out well in the first half, but did a better job in the second half," said the 6-foot-5 Webb, who had a game-high 10 rebounds and two blocks.

Leandre Richardson led Aberdeen (17-9) with 15 points and eight rebounds, and 6-1, 275-pound Darrell Blevins scored 10 points.

Long Reach outshot Aberdeen 36 percent (19-53) to 32 percent (18-57) and hit its foul shots, going 12-for-15.

patomalleysports@aol.com

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