HAGERSTOWN —The South Hagerstown boys basketball team found out how everyone else feels when they play the Rebels.
It isn’t — and wasn’t — fun.
“They beat us at our own game,” said South coach Kevin Naylor. “We weren’t able to play the game as physically as we wanted.”
Williamsport didn’t really, either, but the Wildcats did all the things needed to take the frustration that South usually deals out and turn it on the Rebels on Tuesday in a 60-47 MVAL Antietam victory.
The Wildcats (1-4, 1-2) used their patented maze of mayhem defense to get the edge on the sloppy Rebels and then finished them off with a 21-9 fourth quarter using the equally patented four-corner offense.
“We went to a halfcourt trap and got a couple of steals and had a couple of easy possessions,” said Williamsport coach Scott Mowbray. “Then we did a really good job taking care of the ball. We went to the four-corners when they started to play a zone to take a break and then we got some good possessions out of it.”
The biggest factor for the Wildcats was the ability to turn South’s aggressive style of play against it with strong moves. Williamsport had a 27-10 advantage in foul shots and made 19 to the Rebels’ seven.
“We talked about it at the half of how they were going to come out more aggressive,” Mowbray said. “We wanted to make plays to the basket.”
South (3-2, 2-1) took an early 7-3 lead and led 11-10 after the first quarter. Then the Wildcats slowly and effectively took over as the Rebels’ attack was in disarray.
“One thing, we weren’t able to catch the ball,” Naylor said. “How many passes that we didn’t catch cleanly?”
Williamsport took its first lead with when Ben Seibert hit a pair of free throws to open the second quarter. It started a 17-5 run that allowed the Wildcats to build a 27-16 lead.
South put the Wildcats in the bonus for the final 6:39 of the half to compound its problems. Riley Arnone scored six of his team-high 16 in the stretch.
The Rebels prevented an early blowout with 6-2 run in the final 69 seconds of the half to trail 29-22 at intermission.
South brought the aggression out to start the second half, but used alternate methods to get back in the game.
The Rebels, known for their inside strength, were weakened and turned to 3-pointers to get back in the game. Michael Hill hit two and Xavier Freeman and Che Swayne added one each as South closed to within 39-38 after the third quarter.
Another 3 by Hill tied the game at 41 with 5:38 remaining, but then Williamsport painted the Rebels in a corner. In reality, it was four corners.
“At halftime, we said the second half was going to be four four-minute quarters,” Mowbray said. “We split the first two and we wanted to take care of the ball in the last two. Our weakside help was good and we contested shots defensively.”
Williamsport’s patience paid off with easy baskets as it used a 14-2 run over the next 4:30 to take a 55-43 lead. Nick Johnson scored six points in the spree, capped by his fastbreak slam on a fullcourt pass.
Fouls kept South from coming back as the Rebels lost Devon King with 2:41 remaining, allowing Williamsport’s height to take over to score 12 of the final 16 points in the game.