Behind an athletic front line that includes five players 6 feet 2 or taller, ninth-ranked Thomas Stone stifled Friendly, 73-31, in Thursday’s Maryland 3A South region boys’ basketball semifinal in Waldorf.
The Cougars (23-1) are making their second appearance in the region title game in three years. They claimed the crown in 2010 before being bounced in the first round last winter.
After a slow first quarter in which Friendly slowed down the Cougars’ up-tempo, fast-break offense, Thomas Stone broke out in the second quarter. With only a 13-12 lead after one quarter, the Cougars sped up the pace and relied on their forwards to dominate the boards.
“It was a great effort, especially when everybody played as a team and played together,” said 6-6 senior forward Brelin Elliott, who finished with a game-high 17 points and added six rebounds. “We were all talking.”
By halftime, the Cougars had a 33-20 lead and continued to outrun and outrebound the Patriots for the rest of the game.
“Our game plan was to come out and run the floor because we were prepared and we knew we had to outrun them,” said 6-2 senior forward Devin Mainor, who came off the bench to provide a second-quarter spark, scoring nine of his 13 points in the frame.
“I’m hungry, I’m ready,” Elliott said. “I’m hoping my team is ready to go with me. It’s a great feeling getting back where we was two years ago.”
Senior guard Timmy Christian hit a go-ahead three-pointer with less than 30 seconds left to help No. 12 Springbrook rally past Paint Branch, 44-41. The Panthers (17-8) had a chance to tie when they were fouled shooting a three-pointer at the buzzer, but the first free throw attempt misfired, ending the game. The Blue Devils (21-3) will host Sherwood in Saturday’s region final
Forward Daquan Doyle had 20 rebounds and 10 assists to go with his six points for Suitland (16-7), which advanced to visit No. 13 Eleanor Roosevelt (20-4), the two-time defending region champion, in the region final on Saturday. Wise finished its season at 16-7.
Frederick (12-13) trailed by two and had a final possession with 4.8 seconds left in the second overtime, but Tuscarora (19-5) forced a turnover to seal the win. The Titans will host Linganore (17-6) in the region final on Saturday.
Douglass never led before Michael Cunningham raced the length of the court and drilled a three-pointer from the top of the key as time expired, giving the Eagles a 53-52 win over No. 16 Gwynn Park (19-6). The Eagles (12-13) will play at Largo in Saturday’s region final at 2 p.m.