Maryland 4A boys’ basketball: Eleanor Roosevelt, Magruder advance to state final

March 8, 2012

Akil Charles saw the smallest of openings in the North Point defense, and the Eleanor Roosevelt senior guard knew it was up to him to take his team to the Maryland 4A boys’ state title game.

Charles started from the top right of the key, drove through the middle as defenders collapsed on him and finished a reverse layup off the left side of the glass with two seconds remaining.

The shot lifted the No. 12 Raiders to a wild 65-63 win over defending state champion North Point in the first Maryland 4A semifinal at Comcast Center on Thursday. It also set up a date with No. 3 Magruder in the state final on Saturday.

“I saw basically everybody hooked up with a man so I had an open lane,” Charles said. “I tried to make a play.”

Charles had missed the first 10 games of the season with a broken elbow. But his bold drive broke the last of 11 ties and capped a seesaw game in which Eleanor Roosevelt (22-4) lost a 10-point lead late in the third quarter, only to come back after No. 7 North Point (23-3) led by five with three minutes to play.

“The kids are tough,” Eleanor Roosevelt Coach Brendan O’Connell said. “We’re used to being in close games and they don’t panic late. We were down five in the last couple minutes but we kept getting stops and executing offensively.”

North Point had the first chance at the final shot when they took possession with 41 seconds left.

But a baseline jumper missed with 22 seconds to play to give Roosevelt its last possession.

Senior guard Chaun Miller had a game-high 17 points for Eleanor Roosevelt, and forwards Naim Muhammad and Tre Mouton each scored 14 points for North Point.

●MAGRUDER 75, SHERWOOD 68 (OT): J.J. Epps scored six of his 16 points in overtime as the third-ranked Colonels edged their neighborhood rival in the second semifinal.

Margruder (25-1), which has not lost since its season opener, led nearly the entire game but was forced to play an extra four minutes after No. 17 Sherwood rallied in the closing minutes. Scott Bolen’s 25-foot three-pointer with five seconds left tied the game at 58-58, the first time the Warriors had pulled even since the first quarter.

But in overtime, the 5-foot-4 Epps made the difference. He made a pair of jumpers to push Magruder’s lead to four, then converted a three-point play.

Junior guard Nick Griffin led Magruder with 19 points and junior guard Justin Witmer added 18.

Bolen led Sherwood with 26 points and Charlie Rogers added 22.

More on AllMetSports.com

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Raiders’ Miller earns place in the books

3A boys: Thomas Stone earns date with Patterson

4A girls: Wise, Gaithersburg meet in rematch of 2011 final

3A girls: River Hill advances, Frederick falls

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