On paper, Douglass has one of the area's best teams. But getting the entire Ducks squad on the court has been a trying task in the season's first couple of weeks.
Together for only the second time in a complete game, the No. 14-ranked Ducks showed yesterday they will need to be reckoned with, defeating visiting No. 6 Southwestern, 73-51, in a Baltimore City West Division contest.
Senior guard Chuckie Harris led Douglass (3-4, 1-0) with 23 points, and Travis Buchanan added 17. Earl Carr led Southwestern (3-3, 2-1) with 14 points, and Chris Green scored 13.
The Sabers, defending city champions and winners of the last two West titles, played their second game without coach Terry Leverett, who was removed from coaching duties earlier this week while his behavior toward referees after losing to No. 2 Randallstown last Saturday is investigated.
Vernon Joines, a former National Football League player who starred at Southwestern and the University of Maryland, will coach the team on an interim basis, although assistant Horace Arnold handled most of yesterday's sideline duties.
With a 15-4 run as the second half opened, Douglass built a 15-point cushion and then maintained a double-digit lead as it gained an early advantage in the West Division race, which some feel will come down to the two schools.
"This is the real Douglass that played today," said Harris, a burly 6-foot-1 scorer. "This is a big win after losing three straight games, and this put us right there as a contender in the West."
In their first game of the season against Paterson (N.J.) Catholic at the Towson Catholic Tip-Off, the Ducks lost starting forward Joe Ison to a potentially serious neck injury that was scary enough to terminate that game in the third quarter.
Ison, who saw his first action since the injury against Southern-Baltimore on Thursday, scored 11 points yesterday. They included a three-point play in the first quarter that gave Douglass a lead it never relinquished.
Another starter, Antonio Day, who missed a couple of games because of a school suspension, got the Ducks going in the second half, hitting a three-pointer and a layup off a baseline drive for a 42-35 lead early in the third period.
Harris, who has scored in double figures in Douglass' first seven games, hit a three-pointer that started a 10-0 run that gave Douglass a 52-37 lead late in the third quarter.
"We've been concentrating on playing better defense and rebounding, and we did that today," said Douglass coach Rodney Cofield. "We got up into peoples' faces, instead of people getting up in our face. This was a big win."
After overcoming a 26-point deficit to defeat Carver on Tuesday, Southwestern could not pull off another comeback yesterday.
"I think the loss of Terry Leverett affected the team emotionally," said Arnold. "We simply didn't play well. We got too relaxed and weren't intense enough."
Pub Date: 12/20/97