By MARCUS HELTON
COLLEGE PARK, MD - The Maryland Boys Class 1A and 2A state title contenders were determined on Friday at the University of Maryland’s XFinity Center, setting the stage for Saturday’s four championship contests.
Patterson and Century won to reach the 2A championship, while Fairmont Heights and Edmondson-Westside clinched spots in the 1A final.
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2017 MARYLAND STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
SATURDAY, MARCH 11
1PM: 1A - Fairmont Heights vs. Edmondson
3PM: 3A - Poly vs. Potomac
6PM: 2A - Patterson vs. Century
8PM: 4A - Perry Hall vs. Quince Orchard
Here’s a recap of Friday’s semifinals:
2A: CENTURY 70, CENTRAL 61
For the second day in a row, the nightcap proved to be the best game of the day, as Century withstood a pair of intense Central rallies to advance to their first state final in school history.
Century 2017 guard Zach Tucker finished with a game-high 34 points on 8-of-14 shooting from field (including 3-of-4 from 3-point range) and 15-of-16 from the free throw line. His teammates Zach Owings, Chris Norman and Adam Rolfes all had 11 points apiece.
“We were kind of underestimated coming into this game - just a team out of Carroll County, you know?” Tucker said. “So we came in with a chip on our shoulder and pretty confident, and we had something to prove. We came out on fire early and got up early. They made a little run, and we just kept with it.”
The Knights (24-2) ran out to an 18-7 lead after one quarter and looked prepared to coast to an easy victory. The Falcons (20-5) made it a game, however, using a 16-7 edge in the second quarter to trim Century’s halftime lead to 25-23.
Central’s momentum didn’t last long, though, as Century opened the third quarter with a run of its own, and outscored the Falcons 22-7 to take a 47-30 lead heading into the fourth.
Central mounted one more big push behind its senior guard trio of Deonte Cook, Trent Dixon and Tim Jones, and whittled the Century lead all the way down to three points with 2:03 to play. They couldn’t get any closer, though, as Century sealed the win at the foul line.
“I think we were ready for this game, but we got off to a slow start and that killed us,” Central coach Lawrence Pugh said. “The offense - there were times in the third quarter where it got stagnant, and we couldn’t find a way to attack the basket. We settled for too many jump shots in the third quarter instead of attacking the basket and forcing the referees to give us the same calls they were getting on the other end.”
The loss marked a tough end to a memorable run for Central’s senior-laden roster, which was making its first state tournament trip since their freshman season.
“All the goals we set in ninth grade, we met them all,” Cooke said. “We said we were going to be Regional Champions, we did that. We said we were going to make it back to Comcast, we did that.”
Said Dixon: “I don’t think this loss defines our season. As a whole, I think we had a successful season, we just didn’t complete every goal that we had on our task list, which was to win a state championship.
2A: PATTERSON 68, HARFORD TECH 49
Patterson wore down Harford Tech in the second half, outscoring the Cobras 21-10 in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
2019 wing Marvin Price scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Clippers, who are returning to the state title game for the first time since their runner-up finish in 2015. They won it all in 2012. Gerard Mungo and Christion Adams added 13 points apiece for Patterson.
2017 guard Darius Dangerfield scored a game-high 26 points for Harford Tech, which led after the first quarter and trailed by only five points at the break before the Clippers started to pull away.
Dominic Webb added 10 points for the Cobras while Dashawn Lucas finished with 8.
1A: EDMONDSON 59, ALLEGANY 52
Edmondson used a balanced scoring effort and capitalized on Allegany’s rough perimeter shooting night to grind out a win
Teon Gardner had 14 points and Dontaz Dean 13 for Edmondson, while Deshawn Ruffin added 9.
Justin Copman (1), Sean Rhodes (13) and Jaden Jessie (10) led the Campers, who stayed close the entire game but could never close the gap. It didn’t help that they shot 17-of-52 (32.7 percent) from the floor, including 4-of-26 (15.4 percent) from 3-point range.
The Red Storm will be seeking their third state title in five years when they face Fairmont Heights at 1 pm Saturday.
1A: FAIRMONT HEIGHTS 73, KENT COUNTY 53
Fairmont Heights outscored Kent County 20-3 in the second quarter to take control en route to a comfortable victory in Friday’s opener.
The win sent Fairmont to its first state title game since a runner-up finish in 2007. Hornets coach Chuck Henry said his players are eager to make their own mark for a program that owns seven state championships but is seeking its first since 1981.
“We talk to the guys all the time about the history of the program,” Henry said. “We talk about leaving a legacy - in fact, our last game of the year we did a Legacy Night - and we just talked about all of the different championships we’ve won at Fairmont Heights and the 15 All-Met Players we’ve had. So what we said to these guys is with us closing down an old building that was there since 1957, we really wanted to put our mark on the history and on that legacy of Fairmont Heights.”
2018 forward Kimani Benjamin scored a game-high 27 points and grabbed 9 rebounds for Fairmont, which also got 13 points apiece from 2018 guard Darren Lucas-White and 2018 forward Yearlando Reed.
2017 guard Marquan Green had 25 points to lead the short-handed Trojans, who were without their best player - Siena commit Manny Camper - due to a knee injury suffered this postseason. Ricky Bowser was the only other Trojan in double figures with 11 points.