Stone boys rally to nip North Point
Eagles nipped despite 29 points from Gibbs
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.”
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.
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.