Just when it appeared Liberty finally might be able to climb all the way back to a tie, South Carroll senior Ben Carr converted four of six free throws in the last 40 seconds and the visiting Cavaliers escaped with a 59-55 verdict.
The win halted a four-game slide that had seen South Carroll tumble from an 8-2 record two weeks ago, and boosted its marks to 9-7, including 4-3 in the Central Maryland Conference and 2-1 in the county.
Liberty, involved in its eighth game (3-5) decided by five points or fewer, including an upset 64-61 triumph over Urbana last Friday, dropped back to 4-12, 1-7 in the CMC and 0-3 in the county.
In the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, Liberty, which had trailed by 16 earlier, closed to within a point on two occasions. The Cavs held the lead, however, at 55-50, with 1: 21 left.
Liberty's Mike Reuwer hooked one in, and when unheralded Mike Coleman, who had played well coming off the bench, made the first of two foul shots, Liberty was within 55-53 with 46.9 seconds left.
Carr, who made South Carroll's last five points at the line, got one, but Jeremiah Poehlman drove for a Liberty basket to bring the home side within 56-55, with 24 seconds left. Carr made it 58-55, and after the Lions threw the ball away, he made the last of his 11 points.
"I guess I've done pretty well on free throws, but I don't consider myself a good shooter," said Carr, who finished with 11 points, his best scoring night since getting a season-high 12 against Hammond in the second game of the season.
The 5-foot-9 guard has had his workload increased since backcourt partner John Luster broke his hand last week.
"It puts more pressure on me, because John made things happen. He was more patient, a good ball-handler, and a good passer. I'm more of a penetrator," Carr said.
Coach Jim Carnes pointed out that they could spell each other, but now Carr doesn't get much of a break. "He played well, though, and we did some good things under pressure."
Inconsistent whistles for much of the game took the big men out of the spotlight.
For South Carroll, 6-8 senior Sam McGrane, who averages 15 points and has had a high game of 29, was in foul trouble for the last three periods and had six points when he fouled out in the final minute.
For Liberty, 6-5 senior Reuwer got his six points (and two fouls) in the first quarter and eventually fouled out. Marc Falcone, a 6-7 junior who averages 18 points, and had a season-high 32 last week, also got two first-quarter fouls and was in and out of the lineup. He had seven points.
The 6-1 Coleman is their usual replacement, and he ended with his best effort, 11 points.
Pub Date: 2/03/99