Falcons Weather Palmyra Comeback

Posted: March 01, 1997

PALMYRA — After the regular-season finale had ended, after Burlington Township High had held off a furious Palmyra comeback and eked out a 73-71 Burlington County League Freedom Division victory last night, winning coach Jay Flanagan tried to sort out the game's ramifications.

On one hand, Township had played sensationally in the first half, even though one starter was benched for disciplinary reasons, and finished with four players in double figures. The Falcons also hit 9 of 15 shots from three-point range.

On the other hand, Township had faltered against Palmyra's late full-court press, committing 10 fourth-quarter turnovers and allowing the Panthers to climb back from a 19-point third-quarter deficit.

``I don't know what to think of this game,'' Flanagan said. ``It's just nice to get out of here alive. And it's tough to beat a team for a third time [as Township did last night]. We needed a win to get ready for the tournament, and a close win is good for us.''

Township, provided it plays with the first-half precision it displayed last night, should be a factor in the South Jersey Group 1 field. The sixth-seeded Falcons (15-8 overall, 8-4 league) host 11th-seeded Woodbury (11-13) Tuesday. The winner plays at third-seeded Gloucester.

The Falcons have the speed and the weapons to cause Gloucester problems.

``We don't have a big scorer, so there's not one person a team can key on,'' Township forward Steve MacNeill said. ``We have a lot of guys who are scorers.''

MacNeill, a rugged 6-foot-4 senior who was academically ineligible until Feb. 4, scored 11 of his 15 points in the first half last night and triggered Township's early lead.

``He gives us a finisher against a zone, and he can handle the ball against the press,'' Flanagan said.

Fleet guards Chris Tokley (20 points) and Shaun Davis (13) and 6-3 center Mike Jackson (14) also reached double figures for Township. Tokely hit 4 of 6 three-point shots.

Palmyra (13-11, 5-7) committed 16 first-half turnovers and faced a 40-26 halftime deficit. Clayton Brown, a 6-5 junior who is coveted by numerous Division I colleges, and Rashan Hunt led Palmyra's second-half comeback. Brown scored 38 points on 17-for-20 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Hunt added 22 points.

Palmyra, seeded 10th, plays at seventh-seeded Florence (11-8) Tuesday in a Group 1 opener.

``If the real Palmyra team shows up, I'm confident we can go into Florence and win,'' Palmyra coach Jack Davies said. ``But we just can't turn the intensity off and on like we did tonight.''

With seven seconds left and Township holding a 73-71 lead, the Falcons' Davis missed the front end of a one-and-one. It took several seconds before Palmyra, which was out of time-outs, controlled the rebound and the Panthers were unable to get off a shot.

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