BERLIN- Stephen Decatur’s boys’ varsity basketball team withstood a big run in the middle of the game by visiting Snow Hill on Tuesday to get by the Eagles, 55-51, to pull to .500 for the season.
In basketball, like most sports, what happened in the middle of a game is not as important as what happened in the end, and that was the case on Tuesday as the Seahawks hosted county rival Snow Hill. Decatur got out to an early lead, saw the Eagles go on a big run through the second quarter to take a lead into halftime, and steadily pulled away in the second half to pull out the win.
Decatur jumped out to an early 5-0 lead before the Eagles got on the board with a big three-pointer at the 5:30 mark in the first quarter to cut the lead to 5-3. Decatur’s Drakar Purnell hit a jumper at the 3:40 mark in the first to extend the lead to 7-3 and Jesse Engle drained a big three-pointer from the corner just 15 seconds later to push the lead to 10-3 before the Eagles started its big comeback.
A Snow Hill jumper from the paint, followed seconds later by a converted three-point play cut the lead to 10-8. The Eagles converted two foul shots with 37 seconds left to tie the game at 10-10 and the end of the first, which concluded with a 7-0 run by Snow Hill.
In the second quarter, Snow Hill picked up where it left off with a three-pointer just 20 seconds into the period to take its first lead of the game at 13-10. Decatur’s Troy Bollinger countered with a jumper to cut the lead to 13-12, but that was the last basket for the Seahawks for a long stretch. Snow Hill extended its lead to 17-12 with 6:52 remaining in the second, and added a punctuation mark to the big run with a three-pointer at 6:33 to extend its lead to 20-12.
After trailing 10-3 early in the first quarter, Snow Hill had gone on a 17-2 run that spanned much of the first quarter and a big chunk of the second before Decatur started to recover offensively. The comeback started slowly for the Seahawks, but they eventually righted the ship point by point. Drakar Purnell hit a free throw with just under six minutes remaining in the second to break the ice for the Seahawks and Matt Swistak hit a pair of foul shots with just over five minutes left in the period to cut the lead to 20-15.
However, Snow Hill scored on a fast break lay-up at the 4:25 mark to extend the lead to 22-15 and pushed the lead back to 10 points at 25-15 seconds later on a three-pointer from the corner with 3:17 left in the second quarter. Swistak scored on a lay-up off a great pass under the basket to cut the lead to 25-17 with 2:35 left. Engle hit a jumper with 42 seconds left to cut the lead to 25-19 at the half.
In the second half, Decatur found some continuity on offense and the shots started to fall. Meanwhile, the Seahawks turned up the pressure defensively in the third quarter and forced the Eagle’s into turnovers and bad shots. Decatur eventually caught up to and passed Snow Hill on the scoreboard, but the Eagles would not go quietly. Snow Hill continued to hang around in the game and made it close at the end before the Seahawks pulled away for the 55-51 win.
Swistak finished with a game-high 16 points to go along with his eight rebounds, while Engle added 14 points and Purnell pitched in 11. With the big win at home, Decatur evened its season record to 7-7 and avenged a beat down at the hands of Wicomico last Thursday, 90-66. In that game, Engle scored 22 points, while Swistak grabbed 14 rebounds.
The Seahawks travel to Somerset County to face Washington this afternoon and will head back down south to face Crisfield on the road next Tuesday. Decatur returns home next Thursday for another big Worcester County rivalry game against Pocomoke.