No. 2 for No. 1: Southern repeats as champ, 68-58

March 13, 1994|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,Contributing Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- After Southern-Baltimore had impressively defeated Crossland of Prince George's County, the Washington's area No. 1 team, on Thursday, some thought its state 4A championship game with Springbrook last night was anti-climatic.

It wasn't, but the ending was familiar for the Bulldogs.

Southern, ranked No. 1 in the area, won its second consecutive state title, turning back Springbrook of Montgomery County, ranked No. 4 in the Washington area, 68-58, at Cole Field House.

Senior shooting guard Kevin Simpson scored 19 points to lead the Bulldogs (23-1), ranked No. 4 by USA Today. Damon Cason added 14. Amon Harrod led Springbrook (22-3) with 18 points and Adam Connolly added 15.

The victory was Southern's 12th in a row and 37th in its past 38.

The Bulldogs joined Dunbar, a 90-62 winner over Allegany in the Class 2A championship, as the sixth and seventh teams to win consecutive titles in their first two appearances at the state final four. Last season, Southern won the 3A title, defeating Potomac.

"We're happy about this one," said Southern coach Meredith Smith, moments after being doused with a bucket of water. "Under the circumstances, we had to play a very smart game tonight."

The Bulldogs did. In foul trouble for most of the second half, they slowed the tempo midway through the final period, spreading the floor.

After leading by as many as 12 points, the Bulldogs' lead was cut to 61-56 with 3:40 remaining. After Harrod missed the front end of an one-and-one, the Bulldogs spread the floor, using up more than a minute.

After Williams missed a jumper, Mike Wise grabbed the rebound. Simpson found Alphonso Hawes under the basket, but he was fouled. He hit one of two free throws for a 62-56 lead.

Then, the Bulldogs' defense came up big as Mike Wise forced Tyrian Ridges into a turnover. On the other end, Dante Williams hit two free throws, extending their lead to 64-56 with 54 seconds remaining.

"This one was real hard," said Simpson. "Springbrook played an excellent game. I thought we would be able to out-rebound them because they were smaller, but they really scrapped."

The Bulldogs pulled out to a 12-8 lead midway in the first quarter after a three-pointer by Cason and a follow shot by Simpson.

With 3:26 remaining in the quarter, Simpson picked up his second foul and sat down on the bench. The Devils received baskets from Shakil Brew and Ridges to pull even at 12.

Three free throws by Dante Williams and a jumper by John Hemsley pushed Southern ahead 17-12. The Bulldogs held a 20-16 lead at the conclusion of the quarter.

A three-pointer by Cason and a layup by Dantavius Keating gave Southern a 27-20 lead with 6:04 remaining in the second quarter.

Williams picked up his third foul at 5:58 mark, leading to two free throws by Ridges, but Simpson had two layups, extending Southern's lead to 31-22.

The Bulldogs gained its largest lead of the half at 37-26 after a steal and layup by Cason. They went into the locker room with a 39-28 lead.

"I don't think we were intimidated by them," said Springbrook coach Bob Cliento. "I don't think anyone thought we could played with them, but the kids played their hearts out."

STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

BOYS

Class 1A

Milford Mill 68, Wilde Lake 54

Class 2A

Dunbar 90, Allegany 62

Class 3A

DuVal 60, Douglass-B 58

Class 4A

Southern-B vs. Springbrook

GIRLS

Class 1A

Easton 66, Joppatowne 50Class 2A

Hammond 59, Middletown 41

Class 3A

Howard 47, DuVal 41

Class 4A

Western 61, Sherwood 48

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