The Joppatowne Mariners (18-4) advanced to the state semifinals Friday night with a 51-46 home-court win over Kent County in the Class 1A, Region III championship game.
The senior co-captains, center Kevin Hockaday and point-guard Kilo Mack, led the way for the Mariners.
Hockaday scored 19 points while grabbing 15 rebounds. Mack scored13 points.
Joppatowne will play its Class 1A state semifinal Friday at either 3 or 5 p.m. against a team from Class 1A to be decided this week. The game will be played at the University of Maryland's Cole Field House. Joppatowne is the defending state champion in Class 1A.
"I think we're going in strong," said Joppatowne head coach MikeBauer, who led his team to a 23-0 season last year.
Joppatowne's B. J. Barnes nailed a three-pointer with 10 seconds left in the half,giving the Mariners a 29-17 lead at the break.
Kent County's bestquarter came in the third, but the team was still outscored, 11-10, and trailed, 40-27, going into the final quarter.
With 6 minutes, 15 seconds remaining in the game, Joppatowne increased the lead to 45-29 off a 10-foot jumper from Barnes. Kent rushed its offense to playcatch-up.
"We were forced to put up some three-pointers in the fourth quarter, and that took us out of the inside game," said Kent's head coach, Len Smith.
"Our defense is what won the game for us," said Hockaday, sporting one of the game-winning nets around his neck in the locker room. Mack wore the other net.
Mack said the Marinerstightened the offense in the third quarter and then moved it back out to open up passing lanes. Consequently, most of Joppatowne's baskets came off layups.
Terrance Cain added eight points for the Mariners, and Barnes hit for six. Mike Harris added three, and Brent Nichols put up two.
Kent County's J. R. Robinson led his team with 12 points, followed by 10 from Brandon Thomas and eight from Charles Phillips.
In Wednesday's 76-55 semifinal victory over Perryville, the Mariners got 26 points and 17 rebounds from Hockaday. Mack added 18 points, eight assists and five steals.
Although the Mariners had romped over Perryville, 72-43, during the regular season, they started out slowly Wednesday night. Fourth-seeded Perryville (7-12) stayed within seven until midway through the second quar
In an extremely physical game, Perryville had a lot of trouble against the Mariners' man-to-man defense, turning the ball over 15 times in the first half. But it remained in the contest by hitting six of six free throws,including two that capped off three-point plays.
Joppatowne finally employed its height and strength advantages by running off 10 unanswered points to take a 34-18 lead late in the second half.
Perryville turned the ball over seven times and didn't get a single shot off during the 1:43 it took the Mariners to score those 10 points.
Although Perryville hit 18 of 22 shots from the line in the game, Joppatowne shot 43 free throws, making 23.
Hockaday scored 12 of his points on free throws.
The Mariners, who had taken a 51-38 lead after three quarters, scored 11 of their 25 fourth-quarter points on free throws.
Also in the semifinals, second-seeded Harford Vo-Tech fell to Kent, 68-38, Wednesday. The Cobras (11-8) got 18 points from Akeil Johns.
Although the Cobras stayed within five through the first half,
they fell behind, 44-30, by the end of the third quarter.
Kent also knocked Havre de Grace out of the regionals. The sixth-seeded Warriors went down, 69-30, in Monday's action.
"We were out of it right from the beginning," Havre de Grace coach Alex Spooner said.
"They played man-to-man, and we continued to throw the ball to them."
Brent Bramwell led the visiting Warriors (3-20) with seven points.