Top-ranked Crossland had its problems early before regrouping in the second half, and Friendly did its damage early as both went on for victories last night in the Maryland Class AA Region III semifinals at Prince George's Community College.
Walter Williams' dominance at both ends of the court ignited a 17-6 third period Crossland spurt and the hot-shooting Cavaliers earned a 94-82 decision over High Point before a standing-room only crowd in the second game of the doubleheader.
Friendly's aggressive defense held Largo to only two field goals in the first six minutes of the game and the Patriots went on to eliminate the Lions, 85-76, in the first game of the doubleheader.
Crossland (23-0) plays Friendly (15-6) for the region title tonight at PGCC at 7. The winner advances to the state semifinals next week at Cole Field House.
Pesky High Point (12-10), which had won nine of its last 11 to reach the regional semifinals, rebounded very well despite its lack of size and stayed within striking range of the unbeaten Cavaliers. Andre Cole had 15 of his 27 points and Andre Lee scored eight of his 18 and grabbed nine of his 12 rebounds as High Point led most of the first half. Bernard Hunt (25 points) scored four quick points and Lamont Gunby had a layup and two free throws to give Crossland a 34-33 lead at the half.
The Cavaliers went to a full-court press that turned the game in their favor. Three straight turnovers in the backcourt led to consecutive layups by Williams (17 points, 10 rebounds, eight steals, eight assists), Hunt and Anthony Higginbotham (14 points, 12 assists, five steals) to give the Cavaliers a 40-33 lead.
Good shooting by Cole and Lee kept the Eagles relatively close, but the confident Cavaliers shot 78 percent in the second half (25 of 32 and 40 of 58 for the game) to stay ahead.
Crossland, leading by five going into the last period, 64-59, forced four consecutive turnovers and converted three straight layups.
In the first game, the Patriots, who defeated Largo by 13 and 10 points during the regular season, used good inside play by Greg Roscoe (32 points) and Dickey Simpkins (17) and 27-of-32 free throw shooting to build a 21-point cushion with a minute to play in the third quarter. The lead was still 18 with less than six minutes to play in the game when Largo (16-9) rallied.
A run of points by Lenny Myers (11) and James Bryson (19) coupled with Friendly mistakes enabled Largo to race back into contention. A three-pointer by Myers and a pair of free throws from Bryson pulled Largo within 75-68 with 2:03 to play.
The Lions were still scrapping but couldn't come up with the big steal or three-point shot when they needed it most. They got within five after two more free throws by Quintin Addison with 31 seconds left. But a dunk by Simpkins took what sting was left out of the Lions.