It seemed the perfect plan: get Sherwood's leading scorer, Deontay Twyman, in foul trouble, send him to the bench, watch the complexion of the game change.
Sure enough, when Twyman went out of the Maryland 4A North Region semifinal at No. 17 Springbrook midway through the second quarter with two fouls, the turning point loomed for the Blue Devils. No one, though, thought it would backfire, thanks to seldom-used backup Tom Gilchrist.
Gilchrist, who entered averaging 1.4 points, replaced Twyman and scored the next seven points in 16 seconds to give No. 16 Sherwood a 10-point lead. Sherwood never trailed the rest of the way en route to a 59-53 victory.
"It was the turning point of the game, no question," Twyman said.
With Sherwood (20-4) leading 19-16 4 minutes 21 seconds before halftime, Twyman drew a loose ball foul, his second, and Gilchrist came in for him. On the next possession, the 6-foot-2 junior guard made a steal, triggering a fast break he finished with a layup while drawing a foul.
Gilchrist missed the free throw, starting a Springbrook break. But the Blue Devils couldn't finish, and on the rebound, the Warriors found Gilchrist sneaking behind the defense for another layup.
Springbrook (19-4) turned the ball over, and on the ensuing inbounds play, Gilchrist sneaked behind the Blue Devils into the right corner. Dominique Budd found him, and Gilchrist swished a three-pointer to make it 26-16 with 3:50 left. He didn't shoot again.
"At that point, we just lost our composure for a few minutes," Springbrook Coach Tom Crowell said, "and it cost us."
No. 16 Sherwood 59,
No. 17 Springbrook 53
Moving Up: Sherwood has increased its victory total three straight years, going from 7-14 in 2003-04 to 10-13 in 2004-05 to 17-7 last year to this season's 20-4.
Up Next:Sherwood will host Blake in the 4A North Region final tomorrow. The teams split two regular season meetings, with Blake winning, 56-53, on Jan. 3, and Sherwood taking a 56-54 decision Jan. 30. Sherwood last won a region title in 1999; Blake lost in the 2005 4A final.