Sabres lose to Key in cham­pi­onship game

Record Observer - - SPORTS -

BEL AIR — Com­ing into Sun­day’s Mary­land In­ter­scholas­tic Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion’s C Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship, hosted by Har­ford Com­mu­nity Col­lege, Saints Peter and Paul High boys’ basketball team had a lot to de­fend.

In ad­di­tion to be­ing the reign­ing con­fer­ence champs, the Sabres couldn’t af­ford to lose this, of all games, against an Obezags squad they had swept dur­ing a home-and-away sea­son se­ries.

The Sabres opened with a big bucket, Conor Mullaney nail­ing his first three-point try of the night just three seconds into play.

But the Sabres held that open­ing lead for just over a minute, and fell be­hind 4-3 on a Michael Jack­son bucket 2 1/2 min­utes into play.

Saints Peter and Paul never got the lead back, even­tu­ally los­ing to the team they beat in the con­fer­ence fi­nal in two of the last three years, 53-42.

“We stopped ex­e­cut­ing,” Sabres coach Jeff Hol­lis said; his team fin­ished the sea­son 15-10. “We stopped run­ning our stuff. And I think the mo­ment of the game got a lit­tle too big for us.”

The Obezags — named af­ter the gaze­bos found all over the school’s cam­pus, re­versed — went on a 13-7 open­ing-pe­riod run, and stretched their lead to 22-14 at half­time; Jimmy Hol­land, who led his team with 15 points, had six by the break, with four other team­mates scor­ing as well.

Saints Peter and Paul, which fin­ished just 13-for47 (17.6 per­cent) from the floor, was 2-for-9 (22 per­cent) from in­side the arc, and 2-for-11 (18 per­cent) out­side of it in the first half. Com­pound­ing the team’s flat first half were 11 turnovers.

But, in the locker room be­tween halves, Hol­lis got the team mo­ti­vated by re­mind­ing them that ever yone has peaks and val­leys on the court, and that they had weath­ered them be­fore.

“We’ve been here be­fore. I mean, we strug­gled a lot ear­lier in the sea­son. It wasn’t any­thing we hadn’t been through be­fore,” Hol­lis said. “We just had to strug­gle through it . ... We just didn’t end up mak­ing the plays again.”

The Sabres opened the sec­ond half look­ing like the de­fend­ing champs, though, a pair of three-point­ers by La­mont Pow­ell Jr (game­high 19 points) fu­el­ing an 8-0 rally that tied the game three min­utes into the third.

The Obezags, de­spite bend­ing, did not break, though; Hol­land broke the tie with a layup 20 seconds later, and Amari Kelly’s bucket off an in­bounds pass with 4:25 to go in the third be­gan a 10-4 run that capped the third pe­riod.

The Obezags led by as many as 14 points down the stretch, SSPP com­ing no closer than eight points, at 42-35, af­ter a Pow­ell bucket-and-1 with 3:49 left on the clock.

Sopho­more Eli­jah Jenk­ins, who wore glasses but lost them on a fourth-quar­ter pos­ses­sion, han­dling it by kick­ing them out of bounds and pro­ceed­ing gamely down­court, had a dou­ble­dou­ble in the win, with 12 points and 11 re­bounds. Tyrese Pur­nell of the Sabres had one as well, fin­ish­ing with 12 points and 10 boards. Kelly chipped in 10 points in the win.

The vic­tory by the Obezags also evened up a re­cent se­ries both squads can be proud of: they’ve met in the MIAA-C fi­nal four years run­ning, each team win­ning twice.

The Sabres grad­u­ate five play­ers: Adam Alder­fer, Julius Rees, Adam Leis­ter, Conor Mullaney, and Char­lie Man­gold. Fol­low me on Twit­ter:

@Davetalkss­ports.

PHOTO BY DAVID INS­LEY

In a bat­tle be­tween the teams’ lead­ing scor­ers in Sun­day’s MIAA-C con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game, Saints Peter and Paul’s La­mont Pow­ell marks up on de­fense against Key School guard Jimmy Hol­land. Pow­ell’s 19 was a game-high, while Hol­land’s 15 was the best for the Obezags, who took the ti­tle game, 53-42, at Har­ford Com­mu­nity Col­lege.

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