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Sherrod Baltimore sparks Friendly over La Plata; Magruder downs Springbrook and Eleanor Roosevelt advances

From Staff Reports
Sunday, March 6, 2011; 1:03 AM

With Friendly trailing by 18 at the start of the fourth quarter of the Maryland 3A South region final against La Plata, Sherrod Baltimore's confidence never wavered. He assured his team they were in good hands.

"I said, 'This ain't over, watch what I do,' " he said. "I told my coach and everything. 'Just watch what I do.' "

The senior point guard was true to his word, turning in a stunning performance in the final eight minutes of regulation, scoring 15 points and almost single-handedly erasing the deficit to force the first of two overtimes. His team-high 39 points carried the Patriots as they pulled off an improbable comeback, 95-88, to with their 22nd straight game.

La Plata's Royce Hunsberger did everything in his power to fight off the Friendly charge, scoring 40. But Baltimore was just too much for the Warriors (17-8).

He repeatedly sliced his way into the lane, somehow getting a handful of acrobatic shots to fall, knocked down a pair of threes and calmly drained two free throws with just 9.5 left in the game.

"He kept coming over to the sideline and telling me, 'We ain't gonna lose," Friendly Coach Rob Garner said. "He kept saying, 'Its going to happen. Watch what I do.' And I knew what that meant."

Friendly (23-3) will meet 3A North champion Milford Mill on Friday at 3 p.m. at Comcast Center in the state semifinals.

l MAGRUDER 68, SPRINGBROOK 61: Garland Owens had simple instructions to beat the three-time defending state champions.

"My job was to attack the post and wear them down," the Magruder junior forward said.

It took an awful lot, but Owens's 20 points, seven rebounds and key plays in the closing minutes were enough to hold off an improbable Springbrook rally for a victory at Blair in the Maryland 4A West region final.

Magruder (22-3), which advanced to the 2007 final, the year before Springbrook's run began, will face North Point on Thursday at 9 p.m. at Comcast Center in a 4A semifinal.

Owens, who shot 8 for 9 from the field, including three 15-foot jumpers, attacked Springbrook's lack of front-court depth. The Colonels closed the first half on a 17-5 run to go up 33-18.

The Blue Devils (22-3), who became the first team to win three consecutive Maryland 4A titles, trailed 48-25 with 1 minute 30 seconds to play in the third quarter, and 54-38 with five minutes to play.

Springbrook's strong perimeter defense, though, made a startling return in the fourth quarter, and that triggered the comeback. Magruder turned it over on nine of 12 possessions, as the Blue Devils scored 12 straight. After Enerio Jones hit a three-pointer with 2:03 left, the Magruder lead was down to 58-53.

On the ensuing possession, though, Owens grabbed a big offensive rebound and fed Cameron Royster for a layup. Springbrook then turned it over, and Joe Emerusabe fed Owens for a layup with 1:08 left to make it 62-53 and Springbrook could not respond.

l E. ROOSEVELT 51, C.H. FLOWERS 30: Prince Okoroh scored a game-high 26 points and the Raiders advanced to their second consecutive state tournament with a dominating performance over the Jaguars in the Maryland 4A South final at Wise in Upper Marlboro.

Defense reigned, as Roosevelt (17-8) held Flowers (14-10) to four points in both the first and fourth quarters, and weathered its own prolonged scoring droughts in the beginning of the second and third.

After staying close early, Flowers trailed by double digits for the entire fourth quarter.

The Raiders frequently switched between their man-to-man and zone defenses, and C.H. Flowers had no answer for their tenacity.

Okoroh scored 18 points in the second half, and no other player on either team scored more than nine points the entire game.

"From the jump I just wanted to put my team on my back," Okoroh said. "That's all I'm out to do."

Eleanor Roosevelt will play 4A North champion Patterson in a state semifinal on Thursday.

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