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Slam Dunk to the Beach Web Site
Photo: Tech's L.J. Walston works on standout Bishop Eustace guard Sean Mulholland.
LEWES -- With the exception of a victory, Sussex Tech boys' basketball coach Jerry Kobasa got most of what he wanted out of his club's first appearance in the Slam Dunk to the Beach National Holiday tournament on Dec. 26, 1999.
Most importantly, he got a chance to see how his team would perform against national caliber competition in the Ravens' 75-69 loss to Bishop Eustace of Pennsauken, N.J., in the Delaware River & Bay Authority Shootout at Cape Henlopen High School.
Tech fell into a double-digit deficit early in the game and trailed by double digits most of the way until a late comeback in the fourth quarter fell short for its first loss of the year. Tech is 4-1 overall.
Brian Polk led the Ravens with a game-high 36 points and outscored Eustace guard Sean Mulholland, rated one of the Top 50 seniors in the nation. Mulholland only finished with 19 points but his four three-pointers in the first half dug a hole the Ravens couldn't escape from.
The Ravens eventually trailed 69-55 in the fourth quarter after a follow by Eustace's Juan Rozier, who finished with a team-high 26 points, but the Ravens went on a 10-0 run to pull within 69-65 with less than two minutes left.
During the run, Polk scored 8 points on a layup, four foul shots and a bank shot in the lane. Eustace point guard Omar Wellington (12 points) hit a free throw to increase the lead to 70-65, but Tech's Shannon Wright hit a jumper in the lane to make it 70-67 Eustace with 1:19 remaining.
The Ravens had a chance to tie after a walk by Eustace only to see Mulholland steal the ball to end that threat, but the Ravens still had life when the sure shooting senior missed two free throws to leave the score at 70-67.
Polk then drove baseline for a layup to cut the gap to 70-69 with 45 seconds left, but Rozier nailed the coffin just about shut with a layup and free throw for a three-point play that made it 73-69 with 30 seconds to go.
The Ravens' final chance ended with a steal by Eustace's Carl Clark on an entry pass to Polk, who fouled Clark with his fifth personal. Clark missed both free throws but got another steal just seconds later and after being fouled, hit those free throws with 20.7 seconds left to account for the final score.
Mulholland and Rozier guided Eustace to a 25-14 lead early in the second quarter and a 37-29 edge at halftime.
The lead reached 42-29 early in the third period and after a brief Tech rally, stood at 57-47 by the end of the third quarter.
SUSSEX TECH (69) -- Brian Polk 13-23 6-10 36, Michael Hooks 1-7 0-0 2, L.J. Walston 1-11 5-6 7, Tynell Tingle 2-8 2-2 6, Tyray Chandler 4-6 1-2 9, Darko Jankovic 0-5 0-0 0, Robert Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Shannon Wright 3-4 3-3 9. Totals: 24-64 17-23 69.
BISHOP EUSTACE (75) -- Omar Wellington 5-9 2-4 12, Sean Mulholland 7-15 1-4 19, Juan Rozier 10-20 6-12 26, Kennell Sanchez 2-12 4-6 8, Paul Falconiero 0-0 0-1 0, Brian Baldwin 0-0 0-0 0, Josh Richwine 0-0 0-0 0, Joe Talarico 2-5 0-0 4 Carl Clark 2-5 2-4 6, Colin Harrington 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 28-66 15-31 75.
Three-pointers: Polk 4, Mulholland 4.
Kobasa on Tech Comeback
Sussex Tech coach Jerry Kobasa on the ill-fated comeback:
"It was too late. Every time we made a run we'd do something that wasn't very smart. I thought at times we played well, but again, we made little mistakes at critical times. Every time we'd get back in it we'd do something not real intelligent."
Kobasa on his club's progress this season:
"We're growing and getting better. I just think we need to play a little smarter. We were nervous coming in because we had heard how good Bishop Eustace was. That's a very good club, but the kids have to realize we can play with them. It took us a while to realize that today. We can play with anybody if we play smart. We have the power and we can score. We have a good club with a chance to be a very good club."
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