Pound the ball inside, that's been the way No. 9 Carver has won games all season long. Yesterday, against No. 19 McDonogh in the Maryland Scholastic Association B Conference semifinals, things were no different.
Forward Rodney Black scored 29, frontcourt mate Michael Richardson added 18 and Carver scored a 71-62 victory to advance to Sunday's conference championship game at the Metro Classic.
There, the Bears will meet No. 8 Edmondson, a 111-78 winner over No. 14 City in yesterday's other semifinal. Carver will be shooting for its third straight B Conference championship.
"Our coach just told us to keep going inside," said Black, who also had 11 rebounds and three blocked shots. "We knew that me and Michael [Richardson] could overpower them on the inside. We've been doing it all year."
Yesterday, the pair was instrumental in a number of Carver runs that ultimately decided the game.
Together, they scored the game's first seven points, and minutes later added six more in a 9-0 run that put Carver ahead, 16-6, with 1:42 left in the quarter.
Then, early in the third quarter, with the Bears leading, 34-33, they helped thwart the Eagles' best opportunity to take the lead by scoring a basket apiece as part of a 6-0 run to put Carver back in control.
All in all, the duo's performance was enough to turn some heads, and send others home with theirs shaking.
"When you give it to two guys with such good movement in the paint, it's hard to stop them," said Carver coach Durce Jackson.
Said McDonogh coach Albie Swartz: "When you get point production out of two guys like that, it makes them real tough to beat. Both of them made some incredibly tough jumpers."
Together, Black and Richardson accounted for nearly 67 percent of the Bears' offense. Douglass Pennix also had 17 for Carver.
McDonogh, however, hung tough, trailing by less than five points most of the way. The Eagles closed to within three, at 63-60, with 1:12 left, but Carver outscored them, 8-2, the rest of the way.