Stone boys rally to nip North Point

Ea­gles nipped de­spite 29 points from Gibbs

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com

Af­ter fall­ing be­hind by as many as 17 points at the out­set of the sec­ond quar­ter, the Thomas Stone High School boys bas­ket­ball team faced the prospect of be­ing trounced on its home floor against vis­it­ing North Point on Wed­nes­day evening in a South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence Po­tomac Di­vi­sion con­test.

Even with just over four min­utes re­main­ing, North Point still held a 71-63 lead and it ap­peared on the verge of depart­ing their Wal­dorf neigh­bor with a vic­tory. But over the last four min­utes of play, Stone forged an im­prob­a­ble rally by end­ing the con­test on an 11-0 run to pre­vail 74-71 in a dra­matic out­ing that is em­blem­atic of this ri­valry.

North Point se­nior Jalen Gibbs led all scor­ers with 29 points, col- lect­ing the Ea­gles’ fi­nal seven points dur­ing a two-minute stretch of the fourth quar­ter. Gibbs ended the scor­ing spree with three free throws and a layup in a 25-sec­ond span that en­abled the Ea­gles to lead 71-63 with just less than four min­utes re­main­ing.

With 58.5 sec­onds re­main­ing and North Point up 71-68 and about to in­bound the ball fol­low­ing a time­out, Gibbs was whis­tled for a dead­ball tech­ni­cal foul for hav­ing shoved Stone’s Dono­van McCrae. The tech­ni­cal also re­sulted in Gibbs pick­ing up his fifth per­sonal foul.

Trail­ing by three points, Stone guard Kevin Skid­more sank both free throws and then Kyle Jack­son com­pleted a con­ven­tional three­p­oint play off an as­sist from Skid­more to give the Cougars a 73-71 lead with 40.5 sec­onds re­main­ing. That marked the first mo­ment of the en­tire game in which Stone held the ad­van­tage. Jack­son led the Cougars with 19 points.

“It was a tough call, but it was the right call,” said North Point coach Jimmy Ball of the tech­ni­cal foul Gibbs at­tained. “We have to keep our com­po­sure. It was a tough loss. We played re­ally well. We knew Thomas Stone was go­ing to come with a rally. They have a very good team. They’re well coached. It was a tough, tough way to fin­ish.”

With his team now trail­ing for

the first time, Ma­lik Lawrence turned the ball over at­tempt­ing to drive to his left for a po­ten­tial game-win­ning three-pointer. McCrae hit the sec­ond of two free throws to lift the Cougars to a 74-71 lead with 13.7 sec­onds to play, then North Point again com­mit­ted a turnover on its fi­nal pos­ses­sion just af­ter get­ting past half-court.

“We had to do some­thing to take away their abil­ity to get to the bas­ket so eas­ily,” Thomas Stone coach Dale Lam­berth said. “They [Gibbs and Lawrence] were killing us in the first two quar­ters driv­ing to the bas­ket. We had to find a way to force the other play­ers to take some tough shots. De­fen­sively, we did a much bet­ter job in the fourth quar- ter, hold­ing them to 11 points.”

North Point (6-7, 2-2 SMAC Po­tomac) led by as many as 17 points at 23-6 to start the sec­ond quar­ter and it still owned a 16-point lead mid­way through the frame un­til the Cougars used a 10-0 run to get within 36-26 at the in­ter­mis­sion. The Ea­gles main­tained the ad­van­tage in the third quar­ter as Ball hit two three-point­ers and Law- rence and Gibbs scored easy buck­ets off turn- overs.

Lawrence had 16 points and Satchel Ball col- lected 12 points on four three-point field goals in the loss.

Ball’s fourth three-point- er of the night gave the Ea­gles a 63-56 lead that was quickly an­swered by a three-pointer from Ka­mau Mitchell and a pair of free throws from Jack­son to bring the Cougars within 63-61. Gibbs then dom­i­nated the next two min­utes and his sev- en points pushed the vis­i­tors lead to 71-63, at which point the Ea­gles ap­peared des­tined to de­part Stone with a vic­tory.

Stone (9-4, 3-2) chipped away on free throws from Gary Grant (14 points) and a bucket and free throw from Mc- Crae. Grant missed a short jumper that North Point re­bounded, but as the teams ap­proached their re­spec­tive benches Gibbs was whis­tled for the tech­ni­cal foul that en­abled the Cougars to get two free throws and pos­ses­sion, which led to Jack­son’s game-win­ning three-point play.

Stone is sched­uled to be at McDonough on Fri­day night, while North Point is sched­uled to host La Plata. Both con­tests are sched­uled to start at 6:30 p.m.

“Any­time th­ese two teams play, you can throw out the records,” Lam­berth said. “This is just an in­tense ri­valry. Tonight was one of those games. We were hor­ren­dous in the first half at the foul line [10 of 19], but we were much bet­ter in the sec­ond half [18 of 23] and that was the dif­fer­ence. You can prac­tice free throws, but you can’t recre­ate the emo­tions.”

PHOTO BY WAL­LACE BAR­RON

Thomas Stone High School head boys bas­ket­ball coach Dale Lam­berth talks with his play­ers dur­ing a time­out. The Cougars ral­lied from a 17-point deficit against North Point on Wed­nes­day to edge the Ea­gles 74-71 in a South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence con­test.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

North Point High School se­nior Jalen Gibbs drives to the bucket for two of his 29 points against Thomas Stone on Wed­nes­day. The Ea­gles squan­dered an early 17-point lead and even­tu­ally fell to the Cougars 74-71 in a South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence clash.

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