By Josh Barr
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 15, 2009
His work on the court finally done, a second consecutive state championship wrapped up and play stopped because of a foul with 12 seconds left, Springbrook star Jamal Olasewere started to celebrate. First he picked up point guard Chris Carter, then forward Zaid Hearst. Finally, Olasewere walked backed toward his own basket and embraced guard Jeremy Williams, who along with Olasewere carried the Blue Devils to victory.
Olasewere had game highs of 21 points and 15 rebounds and Williams scored 15 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, leading second-ranked Springbrook to a 73-61 victory over 12th-ranked Wise in the Maryland 4A championship game before 6,500 at Comcast Center.
The Blue Devils (27-0) became the first team in 41 years to repeat as Maryland 4A champions. Their 36-game winning streak is the longest active streak in the area.
"I was in shock," Olasewere said. "I love this team. I love these guys. We did it. That's all I can say."
Springbrook had been dominant all season, having won all but four of its games by at least 13 points entering this week. Tested in back-to-back games in the state tournament, the Blue Devils proved their mettle.
Last night, neither team led by more than five points until the final five minutes.
With Georgetown Coach John Thompson III in attendance for the second consecutive game to evaluate Olasewere, the 6-foot-6 forward was terrific around the paint. He had 13 points and nine rebounds in the first half as the Blue Devils took a 27-24 lead. He finished 8 of 9 from the field and also stayed out of foul trouble.
Still, Springbrook's lead was a tenuous 41-38 entering the fourth quarter when Williams emerged. He had five assists but had scored just two points, but that changed quickly. Williams either scored or had an assist on Springbrook's first 15 points of the period.
"I was in a slump the whole game," Williams said. "The fourth quarter, I thought I needed to pick it up because the game was close."
The Blue Devils eventually pulled away, making 35 of 46 attempts from the free throw line.
"These kids were a lot more confident than I was at times," Springbrook Coach Tom Crowell said. "They always kept saying they could get it done. They played as a true team."
No. 2 Springbrook 73, No. 12 Wise 61 Oh-Fer: Combined with championship game losses earlier in the day by Douglass and Friendly, Prince George's County teams were 0-3 in state finals. Back in Time: The last time a Montgomery County school won consecutive state boys' basketball titles was Wootton in 1978-79. The last Maryland 4A team to go undefeated was Magruder in 2001, when it finished 27-0.