By TIM KOELBLE
12:17 AM EST, February 19, 2013
The North Hagerstown basketball camp can put a thank you card in the mail today to the attention of the Williamsport basketball team.
The Wildcats dueled South Hagerstown through a horrible first half and a much better second half and defeated the Rebels 60-56 in overtime on Monday night in a key MVAL Antietam Conference tilt for South.
The Rebels (13-8, 10-3) needed a win over Williamsport and another Thursday over Smithsburg to gain a share of the Antietam title, but the Wildcats (13-9, 10-4) emerged victorious for the second time this season over South.
North Hagerstown finished the regular season with a 12-2 conference record.
Dr. James A. Naismith, who invented the game of basketball, might have begun to turn over in his grave with the caliber of play in the first half, which found the teams tied at 7-all after one quarter and 17-all at halftime.
The teams shot a combined 7 for 31 in the first half, with Williamsport also escaping big trouble with 16 turnovers.
“The first half was ugly for both teams,” Williamsport coach Scott Mowbray said. “If I were a fan in the front row, I’d have gone home.”
When the third quarter began, South appeared to want the game more than Williamsport, opening with a 10-0 run and a 27-17 lead with 4:03 left before the ‘Cats came alive.
Nick Johnson had three buckets, including a dunk, as Williamsport closed to within 32-28 at the break.
“Most of the game we seemed to show no emotion,” Mowbray said. “But we got our trap defense to become effective and that got us going.”
Still down 46-41, Williamsport’s Ben Seibert hit two free throws and Ryan Crabtree nailed a 3-pointer, his first of four, that tied the game at 46 with 1:27 left.
Both teams had opportunities in the final 26 seconds to lay claim to a win in regulation, but free throws and turnovers left the teams tied at 49.
Crabtree and South’s Michael Hill exchanged 3’s to open the overtime and Williamsport then took the lead for good on 3 of 4 free throws by Riley Arnone.
After a South turnover, Johnson scored for a 57-52 lead the Rebels couldn’t catch up.
“I’d have taken an ugly win,” South coach Kevin Naylor said. “Our zone defense was trouble for (Williamsport) early and their trap defense was tough on us.”
Johnson had 16 points to lead Williamsport, including 14 after halftime. He also had a team-high 14 rebounds. Sterling Christy added 13 points.
Crabtree had his second highest scoring output with 14, hitting 4 of 8 from behind the arc.
“(Ryan) hit some big 3s for us,” Mowbray said. “His shot is a matter of confidence with his release point.”
Also helping Williamsport in the second half was cutting its turnovers to 10 for a game total of 26. South had 16 turnovers in all, 10 in the second half.
South’s Devon King worked hard at both ends of the floor before fouling out with 2:24 left in overtime. The 6-foot-4 senior had 24 points and 11 rebounds and has averaged 26.8 points in his last five outings.
“We were running on fumes,” Naylor said. “Devon has been doing what he can do, we just haven’t helped him lately.”
Hill also had a strong second half with 12 of his 16 points and Xavier Freeman had 10 assists.
South also lost the services of starter Drequan Johnson with concussion symptoms after getting hit with an elbow chasing for a loose ball in the second minute of the game.
Williamsport 60, South Hagerstown 56
SOUTH HAGERSTOWN (13-8, 10-3)
Tensley 2, Freeman 5, Swayne 5, Hill 16, King 24, Robinson 4. Totals 25 3-6 56.
WILLIAMSPORT (13-9, 10-4)
Crabtree 14, Arnone 7, Christy 13, Johnson 16, Seibert 2, Kelbaugh 2. Totals 21 13-21 60.
South 7 10 15 17 7 — 56
Williamsport 7 10 11 21 11 — 60
3-point goals—South 3 (Hill, Swayne, Freeman); Williamsport 5, (Crabtree 4, Cristy). Fouled out—King, Tensley.
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