Eagles race by Mt. Hermon in second half

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 11, 1999

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / Febuary 11, 1999

RESERVE – Reserve Christian, which earlier this season had ended Mt.

Hermon’s district winning streak on the road, completed the season sweep of the Yellow Jackets with a 82-56 victory Friday night in the Eagles gym.

The victory put the Eagles (26-13, 4-0) in the driver’s seat for the District 13-B title with two games to go. Reserve Christian played atMaurepas last night and travels to French Settlement Friday and needs to win one of the two to clinch the district title. Mt. Hermon fell to 19-8overall and 2-2 overall.

With first place in district on the line, the Eagles jumped out to a 19-11 lead at the end of the first quarter. But the Eagles began to get in foultrouble in the second quarter. Eric McClain, one of the team’s leadingscorers, played only 30 seconds in the quarter and was held to four points in the half as Mt. Hermon rallied to take a 29-27 lead at the break.Reserve Christian regained the lead at the beginning of the third quarter before Mt. Hermon tied the game at 31 on two free throws by Pat Williams.The Eagles answered by outscoring the Yellow Jackets 20-10 for the rest of the quarter.

A factor in the run was the Eagles’ ability to crash the boards. In the firsthalf, Mt. Hermon had been able to push Reserve Christian out onto theperimeter but the Eagles made a couple of adjustments at halftime that allowed them to get inside. Reserve Christian finished the game with 40rebounds, 12 of them on offense.

“In the second half, we made adjustments and got the ball inside,” Reserve Christian coach Timmy Byrd said. “We set up in a high post-lowpost and were able to put ourselves in a position to rebound.”Larry Smith started the run by driving the lane. After grabbing a reboundoff a Mt. Hermon missed, Smith grabbed one on offense and was fouled.After the inbounds pass, Smith grabbed another rebound and tossed it back in to give the Eagles a 35-31 lead. Smith would finish with 11 points anda team-high 10 rebounds.

Reserve Christian pushed its lead out to 41-33 with three minutes left in the third on a put back by McClain and a jump shot from the right baseline by Matt McGee. Mt. Hermon came back with a three-point play off a putback by Kevin West before McClain came back with one off a jump shot from the foul line.

A 3-pointer from the right side by Cortnie Brumfield brought the Yellow Jackets back to within 46-41. McGee responded with a jumper in the painon the Eagles’ next trip down the court. McClain then grabbed a rebound ondefense and got the ball downcourt to Aaron Vogel. Vogel drove in and wasfouled, making the free throw to give the Eagles a 41-31 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The margin remained at 10 through the first two minutes of the quarter.

With the score at 57-47, Edmond Weathersby grabbed a rebound and bounced ahead to McClain for a layup. Two free throws by McClain made it61-47 with 5:28 left. The Eagles continued to pull away, giving up onlytwo field goals over the final five minutes.

Drives by Jared Simoneaux and Vogel and two free throws by McClain gave the Eagles a 76-51 lead. Mt. Hermon broke a scoreless spell with a 3-pointer by Williams but Reserve Christian came back with a drive by McClain and a steal and layup by Vogel.

McClain finished the game with a game-high 23 points and added six rebounds and four assists. McGee poured in 18 points, 11 in the secondhalf, and had nine rebounds. Vogel had 12 points and three assists whileSimoneaux added 10 points and two blocks.

“Our goal is to run the table,” Byrd said. “We don’t want to be satisfied.Our best basketball is in front of us but we were excited about this win.”

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