For those who thought Springbrook might be a little down after last year's trip to the Class AA state semifinals, think again.
The 10th-ranked Blue Devils didn't show it last night at Whitman, routing the Vikings, 77-45, in a Montgomery AA boys basketball game.
Springbrook, which lost to Northwestern in the AA semifinals last year, put 12 players in the scoring column to improve to 2-0. The Vikings, who start two sophomores after making last year's regional playoffs, slipped to 1-1.
"When we put it all together, we can blow out anybody in the county," said Blue Devils forward Kevin McClinton. "I really feel that we're the best team in the county."
Springbrook was led by 6-foot-4 senior Shawn Clifton, a transfer from Blair, who scored 20 points, including a three-pointer that put the game out of reach late in the third quarter. McClinton and Anthony Jennings had 11 points and Darryl Asson added 10.
Whitman's Bob Cummins, who scored 30 points in a win over Einstein last week, led the Vikings with 17 points, but he managed only two field goals in the second half. Guard Brian Nunn added 12.
"That's an awesome team," said Whitman Coach Marty Dickerson, whose team was 20-4 last year. "They may be better than last year. They're a lot deeper. When they put in the second team, it was no different than the first team."
The Blue Devils took a 12-2 lead after 3 1/2 minutes and led by 23-11 after the first quarter. Whitman missed seven of its first eight shots and committed seven turnovers. Clifton had nine points in the period.
The closest the Vikings got the rest of the way was 27-23 late in the first half on an 8-0 run, paced by Chris Rowe's six quick points. But Springbrook scored the last seven points of the half, three coming on McClinton's long-range shot, to take an 11-point lead.
Asson, McClinton and Clifton each had baskets to start the third quarter as the lead grew to 40-23. Nunn's runner in the lane with 4:55 left in the period cut it to 42-32, but the Blue Devils scored 11 unanswered points, including consecutive three-pointers by Clifton and Mario Manderson, to blow it open, 53-32.
An 11-2 run, capped by Louis Bates' two free throws, to start the fourth quarter gave Springbrook a 30-point lead, 66-36. Its biggest lead was the final score when Tracy Hawkins hit a layup with 45 seconds left.
"We have a good chance to be better than last year," McClinton said. "We're playing as a team right now."
The Blue Devils used a tough man-to-man defense, dominated the backboards, and forced the Vikings into one turnover after another. Cummins scored his team's first seven points, but couldn't hit anything in the second half.
The only thing Whitman fans had to cheer about in the second half was sophomore Al Boggs' breakaway dunk with 2:20 left.