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Southwestern breezes, will face Mervo in final HENDERSON NEAL TOURNAMENT

The only suspense during the Henderson Neal Memorial Tournament was whether host Southwestern would hit the century mark.

It did.

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The fourth-ranked Sabers beat Northern, 102-65, yesterday to advance to today's 2 o'clock title game. Southwestern (7-1) will play Mervo for the second time.

The Mustangs (4-3) held off a rally by Carver in their 79-70 victory in the first semifinal.

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Northern will play Carver (1-4) at noon in the consolation game.

Southwestern jumped out to a 49-24 first-half lead by using a dominating half-court trap and getting a solid effort from its bench. Junior Bobby Lovett led the Sabers with 20 points off the bench.

"We were a little banged up -- a couple of kids had the flu -- so I was hoping for our bench to step up just a little," said Southwestern coach Terry Leverett.

Southwestern's main scorer, senior Ernie Evans, struggled in the first half -- he was battling the flu -- but finished with 16 points and six rebounds. Aaron Jolly and Andre Jones each chipped in 15 points.

"I didn't get into the flow of the game too much," said Evans, who has drawn the attention of several Division I schools, including Xavier, Ohio, Georgetown and George Mason.

"We missed a lot of people today because of the flu," said Northern coach Paul Holmes. "We had some inexperience out there. We had four kids out."

William Jernigan gave Holmes reason to smile with 26 points.

Carver trailed 25-21 before Mervo's Garland Ragler scored on a drive with 5:06 to play in the second quarter. Then things went downhill for Carver as Mervo came up with a 17-4 run to close out the first half with a 44-25 lead.

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Kevin Harper (14 points) scored seven points during the run with strong drives to the basket.

But Carver wasn't finished. A 19-3 burst in the third quarter brought it back from a 25-point deficit and cut the lead to 75-61 with 3:31 to play.

A dunk by Harper made it 77-61. The Bears then suffered their second scoring drought, managing only two field goals in the last two minutes.

The championship game will be a rematch of last Wednesday's game, a 73-59 win for the Sabers, who got 18 points from Reginald Johnson in a Baltimore City 4A league game.



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