By Alan Goldenbach
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 7, 2009
After gaining the opening tip, Seneca Valley's Bruce Massey looked toward the right wing and fed Jordan Goodman, who wasted no time hoisting up a three-pointer. Swish.
From that moment, just 11 seconds in, Massey knew it was the Screaming Eagles' night.
"Jordan hit that first one, and it was just a domino effect right there," Massey said. "We hit everything."
Seneca Valley made its first seven shots, including four three-pointers, scored 18 points in the first 3 1/2 minutes and totaled 50 in the first half en route to an 87-69 victory over Paint Branch to claim the Maryland 3A West title before a packed, spirited home gym.
It is the Eagles' second region crown in four years. They were favored from the outset to get here, thanks largely to transfers Goodman, a 6-foot-8 sophomore, and senior guard Jon Velez, accompanying Massey, the 6-3 senior point guard.
"The pressure was on us," said Massey, who had 12 points and 17 assists. "But now the monkey's finally off our backs."
The pace was frenetic from the start. After escaping Wednesday's region semifinal with an overtime victory against Tuscarora despite trailing by 17 at halftime, Seneca Valley (22-3) found its shooting touch in its pregame walk-through yesterday. Its only worry was whether it would remain after tip-off.
"We were shooting in the gym earlier," said Goodman, who scored 18 of his game-high 24 points in the first half, "and we couldn't miss. I just wanted to make sure we kept the momentum going."
After Goodman's three-pointer, Massey hit a layup, Velez a three, Goodman another from long range, Goodman an alley-oop from Massey, Brandon Mayes a runner, and Velez capped the opening run with another three-pointer. Seneca Valley led 18-4 with 4 minutes 31 seconds left in the first quarter. The lead was 28-18 after the first quarter, and 50-32 at halftime.
Trailing 58-42 with 2 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter, the Panthers (20-5) scored 10 straight points in 89 seconds to close to 58-52.
But after Devin Gallman's jumper to open the fourth cut Seneca Valley's lead to 60-54, Massey hit a floater and Goodman followed with his fifth three-pointer to push the lead back to double figures and start a 13-2 run that sealed the victory.
Seneca Valley will play 3A North champion Lake Clifton in a Maryland 3A semifinal on Thursday at 5 p.m. at Comcast Center.Thomas Stone Advances
Thomas Stone's junior post tandem of Stephen Battle and Dytania Johnson propelled the host Cougars to their second straight Maryland 4A East title with a 73-58 win over Glen Burnie.
Battle had 22 points, 15 rebounds and 3 blocked shots, while Johnson added 11 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks.
It was sweet revenge for Coach Dale Lamberth, whose Cougars lost to the Gophers two seasons ago in the region final. None of his current team played on that one, but Lamberth got them caught up on the history before the game.
"We mentioned it a little bit," he said. "It was in the back of their minds that [Glen Burnie] walked out of this gym with the regional championship two years ago."
Kendal Smith had 13 points, Leandre Eackles scored 12 and Leon Ouzts added 11.
Thomas Stone will play Wise or Eleanor Roosevelt on Thursday in the 4A state semifinals. . . .
Douglass sophomore guard Eric Washington scored eight points in an 11-0 fourth-quarter run as the Eagles won the Maryland 2A South title with a 36-34 win at River Hill.
Douglass was down by six in the fourth quarter before rallying.
"We turned the pressure up, ran a full-court press in the fourth quarter, and forced the tempo in our favor," first-year coach Tyrone Massenburg said.
Douglass will play in the 2A state semifinals Friday at 7 p.m. at Comcast Center.