South Carroll, backed by one of its most impressive team efforts of the season, showed last night it could put a team away when it concentrates on the business at hand.
Seniors Sam McGrane, a 6-foot-8 center, and Kevin Damiano, a 5-8 guard, provided South Carroll with a solid inside-outside combination that set the tone for what became a 69-44 victory over visiting Damascus (12-6).
This third straight win for the Cavaliers raised their record to 11-6 and erased some of the memory of an ugly 52-50 loss at the Montgomery County school in December.
The Hornets and Hedgesville (W.Va.) were the Carroll team's only losses in its first 10 games, before it ran into a four-game slide.
One of those losses was to Urbana in a game South Carroll led by 21 late in the third quarter. The Cavaliers were in a similar situation against Damascus, leading 53-37 after three quarters, but this time they turned up the heat.
Less than two minutes into the fourth quarter, Damascus had scored five and had the deficit down to 55-42. Over the last six minutes, 20 seconds, however, the visitors could put only two foul shots in the scoring column.
McGrane, averaging 14 points and eight rebounds, simply took over inside from the beginning, swatting away shots and collecting defensive rebounds and steals in bunches.
He finished with 20 points, 13 of them in the second half. The package included 8-for-9 at the foul line, plus 12 rebounds (nine at the defensive end), five blocks, and five steals.
In the first half, while McGrane was dominating the inside, Damiano and Adam Hynes were hitting from outside.
They each had three baskets for seven points, and junior guard Derek Boswell, going full tilt on offense and defense, came off the bench to contribute all nine of his points (three baskets, three free throws) in the second quarter.
In that span, South Carroll harassed Damascus to the point the visitors went scoreless for nearly five minutes against a 2-3 zone defense. In the process, Damascus went from up one point to down eight, and never recovered. The margin was 10 at the half.
"We wanted to take it to them, and play our game," McGrane said.
South Carroll coach Jim Carnes said the combination of shooting the ball well (about 50 percent from the field, including five misses in the last six shots by the reserves) and playing well in transition were the key factors for his side.
"We got into an up-tempo game and for us the faster the better," he said. "We did a much better job on the boards than the first time we played them, and Sam took away their inside game early."
Of Damiano, Carnes said, "He's a great three-point shooter, and stretches a defense."
Pub Date: 2/09/99