The mood in the Oakland Mills locker room Monday night was loose.
And that's as it should have been after the third-seeded Scorpions trounced a weak Baltimore County opponent, sixth-seeded Chesapeake, 99-58.
It was the opening round of the Class 2A Region II boys basketball tournament, which leads to the state championships at College Park next week.
"We're on our way to Cole Field House," quipped Mike Phillips, one of the team's defensive stalwarts. That statement is still wishful thinking since the Scorpions must first face two tough opponents.
Tomorrow, the Scorps must get by Loch Raven, the No. 2-seeded team.
"We could beat them (Loch Raven) by 20, or we could lose," said Scorpion coach Dave Appleby. "That's the kind of team we've been this year. So we just have to wait and see."
A victory Thursdaywould likely position Oakland Mills against Overlea Saturday for theregional championship. Overlea features Bernard Hopkins, third in the area in both scoring (30.3 points) and rebounding (16.2).
The Scorpions are haunted by memories of last week's loss to Centennial, inwhich they blew an 18-point, third-quarter lead.
"The story of that loss was too much (Damian) Biggs," reserve forward Kelly Sykes said of Biggs, who scored 35 points. "He just couldn't miss."
If Hopkins has that kind of night Saturday, the Scorpions' hopes of a trip to College Park and the state playoffs may fizzle.
But the sometimes schizophrenic Scorpions certainly looked like world-beaters at homeMonday -- even without starting center Mark Terry, who sat out the game with a cold.
"Against this team (Chesapeake) our team didn't really need me, so it was better to save myself for Thursday," said Terry. The Scorpions play at second-seeded Loch Raven in the semifinal tomorrow.
Terry's absence allowed Gregg Washington to play the post position, and Washington did pretty much as he pleased against Chesapeake (12-11), scoring 18 points in the first half.
Oakland Mills(17-6) led 53-23 at halftime, and Washington sat out the second half.
"I would like to have kept on scoring, but it was good that someother guys on the team got to play," Washington said.
Among the starters, only John Hilliard (19 points) and Phillips (nine points) played much in the third quarter. And the Scorpion bench played the entire fourth quarter.
Appleby used 11 players in all, and Rick Alvarado (10 points), Chad Barr (17 points) and Jerome Ware (14 points) made the most of their playing time. Barr actually started in Terry's place, but has come off the bench most of the season, usually displaying a sharp jump shot.
Ware, whose quickness and leaping ability should make him a starter next season, scored all 14 of his points in the fourth period.
Oakland Mills shot 52 percent (45 for 87) from the floor. Chesapeake shot 20 for 54 (37 percent).
Chesapeake did hit seven three-pointers, while Oakland Mills made just two treys.
Ball control was a big problem for Chesapeake, as the Bayhawks made 20 turnovers in the first half, and 29 for the game.
At one point in the season, Chesapeake was a formidable opponent, beating 15th-ranked Milford Mill and losing twice to 10th-ranked Overlea in close games.
But then the team's leading scorer quit the team with no explanation, said Chesapeake coach Steve Cohen. Another top player flunked off the team, and still another quit. "I had some disciplinary problems with the seniors this year," Cohen said.
Chuck Holly, who scored 22 against Oakland Mills, was the only original starter in the lineup Monday. Another starter, Mike Avent, was out with the flu.