Crabbers snip Warriors

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Gary Smith swished a layup with seven seconds left as Hampton defeated host Nanse-mond River 69-67 in the quarterfinals of the Eastern Region tournament Wednesday night. The Crabbers fought off several Warrior charges (one of which ended with River ahead with 35 seconds left) to take the victory. It was the second time in five years that the Crabbers ended the Warriors’ season, as Ham-pton defeated River in the tournament semifinals in 1998.

After Hampton outscored River 26-12 in the third quarter (including a 13-2 run in which River missed 11 consecutive shots), the final period opened with the Crabbers ahead 53-44. Alvester Franklin (who narrowly missed a triple-double with 20 points, 12 rebounds and eight blocks) swished three free throws in the first 1:32, and Marquie Cooke knocked home three more points. Fred Spratley sank two more one-pointers to get within 53-52, but the Crabbers broke away for an 8-2 surge that left them ahead 61-54 with 3:11 to go.

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Cooke swished a pair of free throws with 2:58 left, but Rollen King hit a jumper 11 seconds later for Hampton. Elgin Copeland completed a three-point play for River, and the Crabbers, holding a 63-59 lead, went into a stall, capped off with two free throws by Sam Hardy at the 1:24 mark.

Cooke raced away for a full-court layup, and a Crabber pass went out of bounds with 1:13 remaining. Cooke took the inbound pass, and attempted to drive the right side of the paint. Two Crabber defenders surrounded him, and he threw a pass to Spratley, who drained his first three-pointer of the night to get within one with 55 seconds left.

After a timeout, the Crabbers took over at midcourt, and King took a pass on the right sideline. He attempted to pass to Smith on the other side of the court, but Dominic Strand intercepted the pass, and banked home his first points of the night to lift River to a 66-65 lead with :35 remaining.

Hampton called timeout, and inbounded to Smith. Smith drove through the paint, but his layup bounded off the right side of the rim. Just behind him was King, who banked in the rebound to go back on top with

21 seconds to go.

Cooke took the inbound pass, and was immediately fouled. He sank the first free throw, but missed the second, finishing the night at seven-of-15 from the one-point line. But Smith gave his team the game with the layup, and Latron Demiel’s shot fell short as time expired.