COLLEGE PARK – The Maryland 4A state title game is set forSaturday night after Eleanor Roosevelt High School and Dulaney High School playedfor the first spot in the championship round.
The co-main event of the day between Roosevelt and Dulaneyended in a thrilling 63-61 win for Roosevelt. The senior trio of Isaiah Gross,Cameron Brown, and Jaamir Butler led the Raiders in scoring. On the other end, the Lions had fourdouble-digit scorers in Che Evans, Isaiah Cornish, Cameron Buyers, and Ryan Conwaywho scored 17 points, 15 points, 12 points, and 11 points respectively.
“We knew it (would) be a battle,” Roosevelt head coach Brendan O’Connell said, “ It wasn’t looking there for a couple minutes and they were just tough and found a way to get it done.
After initially giving each other fits on the defensive with zone schemes like a 2-3 zone from Dulaney and 2-1-2 matchup zone from Roosevelt, it was the Raiders who initially broke away for a big lead. An 11-4 run led to a 15-point lead for Roose and alley-oop finish from Brandon Thomas to Quinton Mincey was the cherry on top.
The Lions responded midway into the second half by going ona 9-0 run, cutting the deficit to 42-40 after Evans knocked down a 3-pointerand gestured at the Dulaney student section to raise their energy. The Raidersthen grabbed control and took a seven-point edge going into the fourth andfinal frame of the game.
The Lions nearly shocked the Raiders when they reeled off a15-straight-points and took their first lead of the night when Jaylin Websterdrained a 3-pointer. Dulaney would take a six-point lead in the final minutesof the game following an Evans 3-ball. After Conway split a pair of freethrows, Butler scored on back-to-back layups to make it a one-point game beforeGross drew a foul shooting a 3-pointer from the right corner with 15.8 secondsleft. The senior guard calmly made all three foul shots, setting up a finalsequence where the Raiders guarded the Lions final play well enough to force a desperationshot from junior forward Cameron Beyers that bricked off the rim and gave theRaiders an exhilarating win.
“I didn’t think he was going to foul me my purpose was tohit the shot,” Gross said, “ Just me getting fouled was just, you know, theicing on the cake to me.
The final game of the evening resulted in a 72-57 win forBroadneck. The Bruins have Che Golbert (19 points) and a double-double outingfrom Logan Vican, 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Jamar Young who contributed 18points to thank for the victory. RM was led Kordell Lewis (18 points), DjordjeOrcev (13 points), and Miles Gally (12 points).
“At this point I’m along for the ride with this group,” Broadneckhead coach John Williams said, “ I’m amazed at our senior leadership, perseverance,and I’m amazed at how we have progressed throughout the season and we’repeaking at the right time.”
From jump the Bruins established themselves as the hungrierand more aggressive team in this finale. The Rockets on the other end came out timid,the high-intensity moments a little overwhelming. Broadneck was able to score frequentlyand efficiently via an offense that executed at a formidable pace. They endedthe game scoring 26 field goals on 16 assists. On the defensive side, theBruins held the Rockets to only four assists against 12 turnovers. According toRichard Montgomery head coach David Berslaw, out of all the tape the coachingstaff and his players watched they never saw Broadneck knock down perimetershots or move the ball as well as they Thursday night.
“They really came to play,” Berslaw said, “ Definelty adifferent experience and it’s something that our program is very proud of andprofit off of in the future.”
For every bucket that RM got, Broadneck would march down andrespond with their own. The closest the Rockets got was one-possession whensenior wing Brian Sadeghi drained a 3-pointer.After that, the game slowly wentaway from the RM. Bruins were able built a lead as large as 18-point points midwaythrough the second half when senior guard Mike Cantrell snuck into the passinglane and hit a layup to make the score to make it 44-26.
In the fourth quarter the game looked like it couldinteresting when Gally put down a pair of free throws to make the game 58-47early in the fourth quarter. The Bruins responded by reeling off a 6-0 run and effectivelyclosing the door on any comeback for the Montgomery County champion and emergedwith what felt like a win that was larger than the 15-point margin they won by.
“ We all know how difficult the challenge will be,” Williamssaid, “ ER is extremely talented, who knows with this group.”