Sherwood’s Brandon Loiacono steps up as Warriors edge Springbrook in overtime

March 3, 2012

Brandon Loiacono normally defers to teammates Scott Bolen and Charlie Rogers on offense, but with Sherwood’s top two scorers struggling Saturday in the biggest game of the season, Loiacono delivered a clutch performance.

The junior guard more than doubled his scoring average with a game-high 20 points and made a tie-breaking 14-footer from along the left baseline with 1 minute 14 seconds remaining in overtime as the visiting Warriors beat 12th-ranked Springbrook, 51-48, in the Maryland 4A North region final in Silver Spring.

“Scott is our leading scorer, that’s who we go to,” said Loiacono, who averages 9.3 points. “But when he’s off, I have to step up.”

Bolen, who averages 21.3 points, matched his season-low with eight points, but seven came in the fourth quarter and overtime. Rogers also matched his season-low with four points before fouling out.

Sherwood (19-7) never trailed in the fourth quarter or overtime, but the Warriors needed good fortune to win.

Springbrook (21-4) trailed 42-41 in the closing seconds of regulation when standout center Demetric Austin was fouled attempting a wild shot in the paint with 0.2 of a second remaining. He made the first free throw to tie the game, but after a timeout the second hit the front of the rim.

Sherwood will play neighborhood rival Magruder (24-1) in Thursday’s Maryland 4A semifinals at Comcast Center. The No. 3 Colonels won both regular season meetings with Sherwood.

MAGRUDER 54, CHURCH­ILL 39: Junior guard Nick Griffin hit three straight three-pointers early in the third quarter to help the Colonels shake off a sloppy first half and win their second straight Maryland 4A West title at Blair.

“It was big,” he said. “It really gave us the momentum and we really picked it up after those couple threes and it set the tone for the second half.”

Griffin finished with 15 points and senior forward Garland Owens added 14 points. Senior forward Sam Edens led Churchill (19-6) with 13 points.

NORTH POINT 72, ARUNDEL 52: Junior guard Marquis Wright scored a game-high 24 points to lead the defending Maryland 4A champion to the win in Gambrills. The No. 7 Eagles (23-2) led 37-19 at halftime, and their lead swelled to as many as 22 points early in the third quarter before an extended 12-0 run brought No. 15 Arundel (24-2) within 10 with just more than six minutes to play in the 4A East final.

North Point senior guard Tre Mouton scored four of his 14 points to stop the run, then junior forward Naim Muhammad added four of his 12 and Wright scored his last six points as the Wildcats never got back within single digits.

“It was tough out there today,” North Point Coach Jimmy Ball said. “Some things didn’t go our way but the kids stuck together. . . . They made a good comeback but our kids hung in there and did what they were supposed to do.”

Senior forward Anthony Frazier had 12 points for Arundel. North Point will face No. 13 Eleanor Roosevelt (21-4) in a state semifinal Thursday at Comcast Center.

E. ROOSEVELT 72, SUITLAND 68: The Raiders captured their third straight Maryland 4A South region title behind senior guard Chaun Miller’s 21 points in Greenbelt.

Miller, who scored all but six of his points in the second half, was also tasked with helping slow Rams’ standout junior guard Roddy Peters, who scored 65 points in his previous two games. Peters had 29 points on Saturday for Suitland (16-8).

“We just played hard,” Miller said. “We always know that we can’t lose to one man. I can’t do it by myself. Anytime I got beat, my teammates stepped up.”

LARGO 67, DOUGLASS 61: Senior guard Derrick Colter scored 33 points and the 17th-ranked Lions held off the visiting Eagles down the stretch in the Maryland 2A South region final.

“That’s the way he’s played all year,” Largo Coach Lewis Howard said.

Senior forward Michael Graham added 17 points for Largo, which won its fourth region title in eight seasons. Largo (21-4) will play Easton, the 2A East champion, in the state semifinals Friday at Comcast Center.

Michael Cunningham scored a season-high 23 points for Douglass (12-14) and Marvies Daviesadded a season-high 21, including a driving basket midway through the fourth quarter that gave the Eagles their only lead, 55-54. Largo responded with a 7-0 run started by Daemond Carter’s driving basket .

THOMAS STONE 79, POTOMAC (Md.) 63: Junior guard Michael Briscoe scored a game-high 25 points to lead the No. 9 Cougars to the Maryland 3A South title in Waldorf.

Emeka Embakwe finished with 16 points and Brelin Elliott added 15 for Thomas Stone (24-1), which advances to its fourth state semifinal in five years. The Cougars will face Centennial (21-5), which beat Annapolis 76-73 in overtime in the 3A East final, in a state semifinal on Thursday.

The Wolverines finished 18-7.

“We’ve been talking about this for awhile because nobody expected this group of guys” to get this far, Thomas Stone Coach Dale Lamberth said. “If you looked at this team going into the season, you wouldn’t have thought we could do it.”

KECOUGHTAN 50, GAR-FIELD 44: Trailing since early in the game, the No. 14 Indians tied Kecoughtan with 2 minutes 25 seconds left but managed no field goals thereafter in losing a Virginia AAA quarterfinal at Robinson.

Senior Ryan Mason’s tip-in knotted the game at 40, but after taking possession on one of Kecoughtan’s 21 turnovers, Gar-Field was unable to take its first lead since the opening seconds of the game.

Providence signee Josh Fortune followed his own miss with 1:43 left to give Kecoughan the lead, and the Eastern Region runner-up Warriors, with a marked size advantage, made eight of 10 free throws in the final 1:19 to help off-set 14 second-half turnovers.

“We didn’t trap until we were down,” Gar-Field Coach Andy Gray said. “With 20-20 hindsight, I would have trapped much earlier in the process. . . . I’m very satisfied with these kids. I think they maxed out. I don’t think anybody could argue with that.”

Senior guard Marcus Knight led Gar-Field (26-2), which tied a school record for wins, with 17 points. Kecoughtan is coached by former All-Met Coach of the Year Ivan Thomas, who led T.C. Williams to a state title in 2008. The Warriors are 22-9.

POTOMAC FALLS 63, TABB 58: Greg Graves scored 12 of his game-high 27 points in the fourth quarter to power the Panthers in a Virginia AA Division 4 quarterfinal Saturday at Robinson. The two-time defending state champion will face the Christiansburg-Amherst winner Tuesday at VCU.

Potomac Falls (21-8) led by four points heading into the fourth quarter, and from there, Graves — the Region II Division 4 player of the year — took over, eventually sealing the win with three late free throws. He finished with 13 rebounds and six blocks while the Panthers held Tabb leading scorer Shaq Rodney without a point.

“A lot of people doubted that this team could do it — that we were too young, too inexperienced,” Graves said of the Panthers, who graduated 10 seniors. “It feels great to do it again with this group, and I’m proud of them.”

G. MASON 56, ESSEX 52: The Mustangs (25-5) survived a late run at the Siegel Center to advance to the Virginia A Division 2 semifinals.

After Mason built a 15-point lead in the third quarter, Essex (22-3) cut the lead down to two behind the hot shooting of Keith Bundy (26 points).

With the lead down to 52-50 with 1:11 left, Mason senior guard Noel Obuson went to the line twice in a 1-and-1 situation and knocked down four free throws.

“We felt we’ve been here before, we’ve had every situation as a group and won really close games in the postseason,” said senior Nate Ogle, who led Mason with 15 points. “It almost makes it more fun. That’s kind of silly but we love it, we love the situation at end where we have to pull it out.”

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