MINNEAPOLIS, JULY 10 -- Travis Ford's layup with seven seconds left gave the South a 121-120 victory over the North in the men's gold medal Olympic Festival basketball game.

Ford, a guard at Missouri, finished with 24 points to lead the South, which won despite 7-foot-1 Shaquille O'Neal of LSU scoring only nine points after having 89 in the first three games.

Damon Bailey, whose three-pointer had given the North a 120-119 lead with 17 seconds left, led his team with 25.

Two Maryland and three Virginia players were on the winning East women's team. Virginia guard Tammi Reiss scored 11 points and had eight assists, while twins Heather and Heidi Burge of Virginia had five and four points, respectively. Maryland's Jessie Hicks added four and Dwuana Lee had two. Heather Burge led all players with seven rebounds.

"There's nothing like winning the gold medal with a great coaching staff and a great bunch of girls," Reiss said. "We worked real hard for this from the start." Wood Wins Twice

Paul Wood, 21, of Gallaudet, won two gold cycling medals in the deaf competition. He won the 70-kilometer team time trial last Friday and the 20-kilometer road race Sunday. He won one silver medal and one bronze at the 1989 Deaf Olympics in New Zealand.

Other local medal-winners include: Margaret Brandenstein of Reston, a gold medalist in the 100-meter backstroke; Jeanne Farrell of Herndon, a gold in the 200-meter cycling sprint; David Hearn of Bethesda, a silver in whitewater canoe (singles); Pamela Hinkle of College Park, a bronze in judo, 66 kilograms; Joseph Jacobi of Bethesda, a gold in whitewater canoe (doubles); Terry Koenig of Middleburg, a bronze in equestrian team dressage; Jennifer Rhodes of Berwyn Heights, Md., a bronze in 500-meter kayak; Julia Sorzano of Arlington, a bronze in 500-meter kayak; Terri Takemori of Alexandria, a silver in judo, 52 kilograms; Rodney Van Tassell of Fairfax, a bronze in the men's 4x200-meter freestyle relay; Elliot Weintrob of Bethesda, a bronze in whitewater canoe (doubles); Jennifer Wesson of Leesburg, a bronze in equestrian team dressage; Linda Zang of Davidsonville, Md., a bronze in team dressage. . . .

Emily Short, 14, a high school freshman-to-be from Phoenix, turned in another outstanding performance tonight, breaking the 200-meter festival breaststroke record by more than four seconds at 2:32.71. hed

Jim Black of Toledo has worn many hats at international and Olympic-style competitions. A cycling referee here, Black was a soccer official at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City; a basketball official at the 1972 Munich Olympics; and a cycling official at the 1984 Los Angeles Games and 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis.

When Bart Conner and his teammates won the men's gymnastics team gold medal at the 1984 Olympics, they did it mostly with clean, precise programs.

That dedication to exactness, he says, is something that has been missing from more recent U.S. teams, including the group that finished 11th in the '88 Games.

"All the elements are there for the U.S. to have a terrific team in 1992," said Conner, who's an ESPN announcer for men's gymnastics, which began tonight. "We're deeper in talent than we were a few years ago."

But he said the men's team is missing one person -- an athlete or a coach -- who has a hunger for winning and precise routines.

"One thing that's lacking is one personality to sort of bring it all together," he said. "The women's team has that in Bela Karolyi, in that Bela has an unusual passion for the sport. No one has surfaced to be a Bela Karolyi-type leader on the men's side.

In the early 1980s, the top U.S. men's gymnasts inspired each other to greater heights through what Conner called "an incredible college rivalry."

"I don't see that same level of intensity today."

Conner said an extra tenth of a point easily can be found by fine-tuning routines.

Conner believes the Americans are just as talented and work just as hard as any of the world's gymnasts. But he says they're not focused and not concerned enough with precision.

"The easiest way to get noticed is with big tricks. But in the end, when you go to the Olympics, there's 200 guys who can do that stuff. Big tricks can get you to the party, but it won't send you home with the best date. You have to have the whole package."END NOTES