Wicomico senior center Derrick Hayward timed his jump perfectly, grabbed his teammate’s miss and slammed in a putback dunk with one hand.
Even when 20th-ranked Calvert forced a rushed shot or a broken play Friday night, the Maryland football recruit and his teammates found a way to make it all look like part of the plan.
Junior guard Rashaan Handy finished with a team-high 19 points, Hayward added 14 points and 19 rebounds and Wicomico held off a brief Calvert rally in the second half for a 76-66 win in a Maryland 2A semifinal at Comcast Center.
Wicomico (25-2) advances to face Edmondson-Westside in the state final on the same court Saturday at 6 p.m. It is aiming to win its first state championship since 2002.
Calvert, playing in its first state semifinal since 1997, finished its season 19-7.
“To say the least it was a big win,” Wicomico Coach Butch Waller said. “Here we sit in Comcast Center. What a thrill it is for them and what a thrill it is for me.”
Wicomico took control early, showing offensive versatility that Calvert could not contain.
The Indians scored on their first four possessions to take a 9-0 lead, and led by 12 in the first quarter as senior forward Thomas Brown scored 12 consecutive points in the paint.
“I just tried to play as hard as I always do,” Brown said.
The Cavaliers collapsed on Brown in the post and briefly pulled to within 20-17 early in the second quarter.
But Handy and fellow guard Amari Siggers started knocking down open outside shots, Wicomico tossed in some baskets in transition including Hayward’s dunk and the lead was stretched back to 46-28 at halftime.
Calvert started to close the gap in the third quarter.
Senior guard Tavi Thomas knocked down three three-pointers to make things more competitive, but the Cavaliers never got closer than nine after halftime.
Wicomico continued to push the offensive tempo even though no shot clock compelled them to rush through its offensive sets, and the Indians made enough plays down the stretch to stay comfortably ahead.
Thomas finished with a team-high23 points and 11 rebounds for Calvert, and senior forward Josh Smith added 13 points for the Cavaliers.
“That first half they couldn’t miss anything and we couldn’t find an answer to it,” Calvert Coach Jeremy Kurutz said. “We started to chisel away, but we couldn’t stop them.”