Boys’ basketball: Westlake downs Stephen Decatur to end region title drought

March 7

As the seconds ticked away in Friday’s Maryland 3A South region final Westlake guard Desi Wiseman could no longer hold back his emotions.

The Wolverines had accomplished a feat the Charles County school’s boys’ basketball team had not achieved in more than a decade, and as that realization hit Wiseman, tears began to flow down the senior’s face.

Wiseman was one of four players to score double-figures as Westlake handily defeated Stephen Decatur, 66-51, to advance to their first Maryland state semifinal since 2001. The Wolverines will face state power Milford Mill in the 3A state semifinals at Comcast Center on Thursday.

“Four years ago, our assistant coach [Zac] Marshall told us that we would be the class to do it once we were seniors,” Wiseman said. “He told us to keep putting in the hard work and it would pay off. It’s been a long four years.”

A three-year varsity player, Wiseman set the tone early for the Wolverines (21-4), scoring seven of his 15 points in the first quarter, and he received ample help his teammates.

Senior Chris Craft scored 11 points, junior Omar Alston scored 18 and junior Dominic Espeleta added 17 points in the well-balanced attack.

“We pretty much had three guys in double digits all season, that’s nothing new to us,” second-year Westlake Coach Edward Mouton said. “We just played together and stuck together as a team.”

Alston was matched up with Seahawks standout big man Tyler Hunter for much of the game and fronted him to keep the ball out of his hands. Hunter didn’t get his first touch until 5 minutes 26 seconds remained in the second quarter and finished the night with nine points. Randy DuPont scored a team-high 16 for the Seahawks.

“We wanted to play strong and not let him crash the boards,” Alston said. “We didn’t want to let him get any offensive rebounds.”

The Wolverines used a zone press in the first half and the Seahawks turned it over 15 times. In the final 16 minutes, they ran full-court man-to-man pressure, and Stephen Decatur finished the night with 22 turnovers.

“Defense, rebounding and running the floor are what makes Westlake basketball,” Mouton said. “And after every defensive rebound we were in transition doing that.”

Westlake held a 28-22 lead at the half but it quickly evaporated as the Seahawks scored six unanswered to start the third quarter. Mouton opted not to call a timeout, instead trusting he trusted his players to fight through the loss of their halftime advantage.

The Wolverines responded with a 19-6 run to take a 47-34 lead into the final period. The Seahawks never crept within single digits the rest of the way as Westlake shot 13 for 18 from the line in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.

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