Glen Burnie senior forward Tony Sherrod was frustrated by his two-point performance last week in the Maryland 4A East Region semifinal game against Frederick. So he decided to take it out on Thomas Johnson.
Sherrod produced a season-high 23-point, 10-rebound performance as the Gophers shocked previously unbeaten Thomas Johnson, 70-69, in Friday's region final. Glen Burnie Coach Mike Rudd called the victory "the biggest win in Glen Burnie basketball history."
"I played terrible against Frederick," Sherrod said. "I knew what I had to do and I got it done. I just came out there very confident. Nobody believed we could do it, but we had confidence in ourselves."
The victory ended the Patriots' 23-game winning streak on their home court and was the final game for Thomas Johnson's Tom Dickman, Maryland's winningest public school coach with 593 victories in 29 seasons. Dickman will direct the men's basketball program at Division III Hood College in the fall.
The Gophers, in the state tournament for the first time since 1994 and for the fourth time in school history, will face Magruder at 7 p.m. Thursday at the University of Maryland's Comcast Center in the 4A semifinals.
"We don't win Friday night if Tony Sherrod doesn't go crazy," Rudd said. "But then again, we don't win if [senior] Josh Larkins doesn't come in and play good defense. Everyone chipped in. The difference right now is these guys have decided to play defense like they're possessed. I don't know what kicked it in, they just started to do it. They didn't want this to end."
The only thing that ended was junior guard Mitch Guest's string of three straight 30-point performances. He finished with 17 against the Patriots.
"Tony stepped up big," said Guest, who contributed seven assists. "They knew they were going to be keying in on me, so I told him and [Brandon Albert] one of them had to step up. [Sherrod] was like, 'I got you, man.' He was all over the place."
Of the 16 teams that earned berths in the Maryland boys' basketball semifinals on Thursday, the only teams in the 2A, 3A and 4A to repeat as region champions and return to the state tournament are from the metropolitan area. Maryland 3A South Region champion Chopticon is making its second consecutive state tournament appearance along with 4A West Region champion Magruder and 2A South Region champion Central.
Staff writer Judith Evans contributed to this report.