Gwynn Park’s Isaiah Miles watched all five Douglass players crash the paint for a rebound in the closing moments of Wednesday’s 2A South region semifinals, and his first instinct was to run the other direction. In the mad scramble for a loose ball, guard Marlon White somehow ended up with it and saw his teammate streaking toward the other basket.
The Yellow Jackets trailed by 18 points before halftime and held the lead for all of 37 seconds during what became their biggest comeback of the season. Gwynn Park (23-2) will host Westlake in the 2A South region final Friday.
“It’s a lot to take in,” Miles (20 points) said, still reveling in the postgame celebration. “I just had to buckle down, make the free throw so we could secure the win. We were never out of the game, so I felt like we all just buckled down and took control.”
Douglass (20-2) came out hot and torched Gwynn Park’s normally stingy defense. At times, senior Cameron Hayes (26 points) tried to will the Eagles past their rival, finishing around the rim from the baseline. A short jumper by Hayes gave Douglass its biggest lead at 40-22 late in the first half.
But Gwynn Park slowly began to chip away, and junior Justin Faison delivered with his team in jeopardy. He scored 16 of his 23 points in the final 12 minutes, hitting several contested jumpers to steady the Yellow Jackets before their final push.
Faison credited a “McNamara Reject” sign in the Douglass student section — he transferred to Gwynn Park after playing with McNamara’s junior varsity team last year — for providing extra motivation.
“I took that to heart, and I didn’t want to lose,” Faison said. “They thought I was rejected, but at the end of the day we’re just trying to keep pounding and get a state championship. That’s all that matters.”
To keep those title hopes alive, the Yellow Jackets withstood a manic final minute. Senior Aaron Parker gave Gwynn Park its first lead of the game on a hanging lay-in, but Douglass junior Donald Carey came right back with a fast-break basket to put the Eagles back on top.
“We just had to be patient,” Faison said.
Fifth-ranked Eleanor Roosevelt came from behind to beat Bowie, 48-36, in the 4A South region semifinals. The Raiders closed the game on a 29-6 run and will face Bladensburg in the 4A South region final Friday. The Mustangs defeated Laurel on Tuesday.
● CLARKSBURG 62, GAITHERSBURG 60: The Coyotes scored a dramatic win on the road after a steal by senior Jeffrey McInnes led to a layup in the final seconds. The Coyotes advanced to the Maryland 4A West championship game Saturday against Whitman.
●CENTENNIAL 58, WILDE LAKE 42: The defending 3A state champion Eagles cruised to a return date in the Maryland 3A East region final. They will face Stephen Decatur, which beat Hammond in overtime, 70-68, on Tuesday.