MPSSAA Boys Basketball Championships
Eleanor Roosevelt High School sprinted out to an 18-point lead in the first quarter and never looked back, defeating Meade High School, 72-39, Saturday night to win the MPSSAA Class 4A boys basketball title.
Senior guard Naji Marshall scored 21, sophomore guard Jaden Faulkner added 16 and senior forward Trent Bishop had 13 for the Raiders of Prince George's County, who finished their season 24-3.
"This feels so good," Roosevelt Coach Brendan O'Connell said. "We played so well tonight. It feels good to save the best for last."
This is the second time the Raiders have beaten Meade this season. They won 62-54 in Anne Arundel County in December.
"I thought it was going to be a 32-minute game," Marshall said. "We just kept getting stops."
The Raiders took it to Meade right from the start. Eleanor Roosevelt led 24-6 after the first quarter and 38-13 at the half. The Raiders' Bishop almost outscored the Mustangs by himself, with 11 points.
Meade plugged all of the leaks after halftime, but by then Roosevelt was much too far ahead. The Mustangs actually outscored the Raiders by three in the third quarter, after which they trailed 50-28.
Meade finished its year 23-4.
The New Town Titans held off feisty Middletown High School Saturday to win the MPSSAA Class 2A boys state championship, 56-52, in game that featured 15 lead changes.
New Town came back from a deficit of seven points early in the second half to win its second straight state crown. The Titans won the Class 1A championship last year, but because of the MPSSAA's bi-annual realignment, they competed in Class 2A this year.
"I am so proud of these guys," said New Town coach Mike Daniel. "I am proud for the kids, proud for the school, proud for the coaches.
"We never say die. Our practices are wars. These guys, they never, ever give up."
The Baltimore County finished the year with a record of 24-2. The Titans were led by senior guard Devin Smith, who had 17 points.
Middletown, which finished 21-6, was led by junior guard Clay Smith, who scored 21.
"We fought the whole time, we gave ourselves a chance at the end," Knights Coach Aaron White said. "What more could you ask for?"
Both teams started the game a little tentatively. Middletown's Smith got the game's first basket, a three-pointer after 1:41 had been played. New Town scored 1:15 later when Christopher Fitzgerald made two free throws. Things picked up in the second half of the first quarter, and Middletown had an 11-9 lead after one.
The Knights were cold again in the first half of the second quarter, falling behind by 20-15 with 4:33 to play in the half. But Middletown then went on a 15-6 run to close out the period and take a 30-26 lead into the break.
New Town's Devin Smith had 13 points in the half, including 10 in the second quarter. Middletown's Clay Smith had 14 in the half, nine in the second quarter.
Chris Lorenzo stole the ball from Torrey Brittingham and raced the length of the court for a layup to give C. Milton Wright a 51-49 overtime victory over Stephen Decatur and the MPSSAA Class 3A boys basketball title.
The game was tied 49-49 at the end of regulation, and Decatur held the ball for the final minute of overtime, looking for the game-winning shot. But after a Decatur timeout with 37 seconds to play, Lorenzo picked Brittingham's pocket and gave the Harford County school the victory on a basket with 6.5 seconds to play.
"Coach (Jon Stefanides) told us we had a foul to give," Lorenzo said. "He told me to creep up. I just got lucky, I guess. I just wanted to make that layup."
Stefanides had his Mustangs, who finished the year at 24-3, sit back in their zone defense for the final minute of both regulation and overtime as Decatur held for a potential last shot.
When he gave his players the "X" signal, he said he had told them to go for the ball.
"If we could, they have to set up an inbounds play Stefanides said.
Corey Bays, a senior guard and one of the Mustangs top players, got two quick fouls in the first quarter and didn't see the court again until the second half. It was a calculated gamble, Stefanides said, but since his team was staying right with Decatur, he decided to keep Bays on the bench.
"We weren't going to lose the game in the first half," the coach said. "If the game was going to get out of hand, I was going to put him back in."
Even though he played only 21 minutes, Bays led CMW in scoring with 16 points.
Jaquan Johnson led the Seahawks with 14 points. Decatur finished its season 24-3.
Nerves got the best of the teams at the start. The first basket didn't come until 3:17 had been played, from Decatur's Ja'Quan Johnson. CMW's Kyle Harkins made two field goals in a row to give the Mustangs a 4-2 lead. Decatur's Torrey Brittingham then hit two field goals of his own before Chris Lorenzo made a 3-pointer for Wright to end the quarter.
The teams got on track in the second quarter. The Mustangs made 10 of 12 free throws in the period, and the Seahawks got 5 points each from from Kevon Voyles and Brittingham. The half ended with Decatur up 25-23.
Pocomoke High School, down by 11 points early in the first half, came back to beat Lake Clifton 64-56 Saturday and claim the MPSSAA Class 1A boys state championship.
The Warriors, who finished their season 26-3, were led by senior guard Tyler Nixon, who scored 23 points and shot 18-for-22 from the free throw line. It was Pocomoke's first state title since 2002.
Lake Clifton was led by senior guard Kai Dixon, who had 22 points.
Pocomoke won the game at the free-throw line, hitting 34 of 42 attempts for the game, 81 percent. That was much better than they did all year, according to coach Derrick Fooks.
"That's the best we shot all year," he said. "We shot 61 percent all year."
Fooks was at a loss to explain how he felt after the game.
"When the clock hit zeroes, I was just overcome with emotion for these guys," he said.
The first quarter was a good one for the Lakers. Shawntaze Drake hit two three-pointers in a row, to go along with another field goal, to score 8 points in the period. Lake Clifton held a 21-10 lead after 8 minutes.
The second quarter belonged to Pocomoke. Nixon scored 9 points, all on free throws, to help the Warriors to close to within 36-31 at halftime. Nixon had 14 points in the half -- a three-pointer to go along with 11 of 12 shooting from the free throw line.
|March 12th, 2016||By: Ed Waldman|