Bernard Hopkins and Overlea continued their perfect season, and the Falcons moved one step closer to their first state championship with a 59-41 rout of Mount Hebron last night in Class 2A, Region II semifinal action at Overlea.
The top-seeded Falcons (21-0), who never have won a regional title, advanced to tomorrow's 2 p.m. regional final against Oakland Mills.
Hopkins, who at 6 feet 6 and 220 pounds is the dominant player in Baltimore County, scored 29 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and blocked eight shots, all game highs.
"He [Hopkins] does things inside that make people afraid to come in there," said Overlea coach Doug Eisenhauer. "He forces you to walk or change your shots. He is why my phone has been ringing off the hook [from college recruiters]."
Hopkins, a senior winding up his third varsity season, reached 1,499 career points with another intimidating performance. His show included four slam dunks and numerous unstoppable power moves resulting in layups.
Dearic Carter scored 12 for Overlea. Shawnte Dukes added 10. Tony Yanero led Mount Hebron (17-7) with 15.
The Vikings tried to slow the Falcons early by milking the clock and working for open shots from the outside. The strategy worked briefly when Hebron took a 7-6 late in the first quarter.
But Overlea, behind a six-point burst by Hopkins, ran off 10 unanswered points to take a 16-7 lead with 5:20 left in the first half, and the Falcons were off and running.
After Dukes hit a three-pointer to give Overlea a 19-9 lead, Hopkins scored the next six points -- four on slams -- to give Overlea a 25-11 halftime advantage. The Vikings, meanwhile, went more than seven minutes without a basket in the second period.
Hopkins promptly began the second half with another dunk, as Overlea stretched its lead to 34-15 midway through the third period. Hebron cut the margin to 39-23 at the end of the quarter. The Vikings then staged a mild threat early in the final period, as Yanero, Phil Tonkins (four points) and Kurtis Jestes (seven) hit consecutive jumpers to pull Hebron to within 41-30 with 5:50 left.
Jestes hit two free throws a minute later to close the gap to 43-33, but Overlea quickly put the Vikings away after that.