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Oakland Mills turns back South Hagerstown in OT 2A BOYS BASKETBALL


COLLEGE PARK -- The Irv and Mike Show played Cole Field House last night after a long-running engagement in Howard County, and the Oakland Mills duo scored 27 points apiece, earning a standing ovation from their fans.

Irving Conwell and Mike Hill led the No. 11 Scorpions to a 74-67 overtime victory in a Class 2A state semifinal against the South Hagerstown Rebels (22-3), who hadn't played in a final four since 1980.

The Scorpions will play defending state champion Dunbar for the 2A title at 6 tonight. Oakland Mills last won a state title in 1990.

Oakland Mills (22-3) made 10 of 10 free throws in overtime. Conwell made all four of his free throws in overtime and eight of 10 for the game.

"Mike and I each shot 300 free throws in the last three days of practice because we knew we'd be at the line at the end of the game," Conwell said.

Oakland Mills' second-half defense also was a key. Conwell started out guarding South Hagerstown's leading scorer, Dee Harris (21.2 ppg), but later switched to Steve Devore after Devore scored three quick baskets in the second quarter. Devore (seven points) didn't score another basket. Harris ended up with 27.

"Defense was definitely the difference in the second half," Conwell said. "I guess [the Rebels] got tired. They beat us terribly in the first half on the boards, though."

Conwell (nine rebounds, three assists, two steals) kept Oakland Mills close in the first half with 12 points. It was 26-26 at halftime.

Then Mike Hill (11 rebounds) took over with a 20-point second half, including six in overtime.

"The key for us was getting their big man [Ebby Bynum] in early foul trouble," Hill said.

Bynum, who averages 19.3 points and 11 rebounds, had 16 points and seven rebounds before fouling out with 31 seconds left in overtime. He had picked up his fourth foul with 5:09 left in the third period.

Bynum, 6 feet 5, was scoreless from that point until the final 2:41 of regulation. Then he scored seven points to spark South Hagerstown's comeback from a 56-47 deficit.

Bynum tied the game at 58 with 48 seconds left. Harris put the Rebels ahead 60-58. Conwell hit a drive with 11 seconds left to send the game to overtime.

South Hagerstown had the ball out of bounds with four seconds left, but Conwell stole the inbounds pass and found Hill open on the baseline. Hill tripped over the referee's foot, however, and his last-second shot as he fell down was an air ball.

Hill made the first two baskets of overtime. Oakland Mills made both ends of four one-and-ones in the final 1:13 of overtime.

Shawn Hill (12 points, eight rebounds) contributed mightily off the bench. Matt Wichita, 6-foot-7, also had nine rebounds and five points.

It was Oakland Mills' second straight overtime victory. The HTC Scorpions won the regional title over Glenelg, 68-67, on a last-second 25-foot bank shot.

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