Maryland will be well represented in the championship of the second-annual Centreville Holiday Tournament as defending champion Landon and Seneca Valley last night advanced to Friday's 8 p.m. championship game by beating Virginia opponents.
Host Centreville forced Landon to play an up-tempo pace, and while the Bears never fully adjusted they were precise with their free throws down the stretch, pulling away for a 72-64 victory.
Seneca Valley used a game-high 16 points from Bobby McMeans and 11 from Cass Chappell to beat Langley, 66-44.
Langley (2-3), which will meet Centreville in Friday's consolation game at 6, played without senior center Ben Morton and key substitutes Dean Iverson and Peter Frickel. Coach Lew Sinclair said Morton and Iverson were away on family holidays; Frickel is injured.
The Wildcats (1-4), whose victory came against Langley, lost to Landon in last year's title game, 50-46. This time, Centreville dictated the tempo with a trapping, full-court press.
"It was especially hard for us to make the transition from offense to defense," said junior forward Ed Burman, who led Landon's balanced scoring with 14 points.
Landon used its patient half-court offense to build a 62-50 lead with 4:29 left, but the Wildcats rallied.
Jason Whitt made a three-pointer and Tony Dews, who scored a game-high 25 points, went to work inside, displaying his reverse layup for two baskets. Jurmell James's follow jumper cut the margin to 65-63 with 2:17 left.
But the Bears, who made 20 of 34 free throws, made their last seven as Burman, Lance Archibald and John Kane each hit two.
In the first game, senior guard J.C. Lee entered midway through the second quarter to lead a 14-1 run that gave Seneca Valley a 32-13 lead.
"He's our catalyst," said Seneca Valley's first-year coach, Paul De Stefano. "We needed him to settle things down and he did a great job."
"I tried to set an example on defense with a lot of hustle and everyone else followed," said Lee.