Southern center John Salley wasn't in the starting lineup yesterday against Cardinal Gibbons. But he was there in the end for the No. 2 Bulldogs, helping them to a 52-47 win over the No. 8 Crusaders, in a Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference Division II game.
The win helped the Bulldogs (13-4, 8-1) retain sole possession of first place. The Crusaders (16-8, 6-2) slipped into third behind Lake Clifton (7-1). The top two teams in each division will participate in the conference tournament later this month. Previously, the first four in each division advanced.
Salley, who did not start because he had missed Monday's practice, scored 14 points and pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds.
He and Kwame Evans, who had 12 points and six rebounds, carried the Bulldogs in the final quarter, combining for the first 13 points.
Evans scored nine straight, as Southern held a 41-38 advantage with 5 minutes, 6 seconds remaining in the game. After the Crusaders pulled to within 41-40, Salley hit a pair of free throws and a jumper, part of a 6-0 run that extended the Bulldogs' lead to 47-40, with 2:40 left.
"It's a rule with our team that if you miss practice or come late, you sit until it's time for him [Southern coach Meredith Smith] to put you in," said Salley, a 6-foot-7 senior. "It's a form of discipline, and it didn't affect me because I know what I did, so I knew what he would do."
Cardinal Gibbons handed Southern its only loss in divisional play Dec. 21, 63-60, on a three-point jumper by Casey Musick.
Musick, who's now the sixth man, led the Crusaders with 15 points and five steals. Ross Peacock added 10 points and five assists.