Severn coach Wayne Fowler, who is 6 feet 5 and an ex-NFL lineman with the Buffalo Bills, has gone through life taking giant steps. Tonight, he gets the chance to take the biggest of all.
Fowler's No. 16 Admirals (9-3), who stepped up from the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference to the A this season, play host to No. 1 and nationally ranked Lake Clifton (5-0) in tonight's 7:30 championship game of the first Severn Christmas Classic in Severna Park.
Last night John Vereen led Severn to a 76-35 romp over Archbishop Spalding while the Lakers, with Shawnta Rogers (23 points) pacing six players in double figures, routed McDonogh of Baltimore County, 95-46. Spalding (4-4) and McDonogh (2-3) play the consolation at 5:30 p.m.
"I know it's like David and Goliath, but we needed a fourth team and Lake Clifton needed a tournament to play in," said Fowler.
"The gym was packed. It's great for our program to have the No. 1 team here.
"We have to do the things Broadneck did against them, but play one more quarter [Broadneck stayed close until the final period before bowing to the Lakers in the Fuel Fund Classic, 78-56]. We have to take care of the basketball because the key is having the ball against them."
The Lakers played a somewhat uninspired first half, holding a 43-30 lead at the break, but outscored McDonogh 24-6 in the third period and coasted to victory.
Rogers scored 15 of his points in the third period.
The 5-foot-4 guard (five steals) hit three of his four three-pointers in the third, all in succession, pushing the lead to 67-36.
Reggie Frazier (16 points, nine rebounds, five steals), Ronald Byrd (13 points), Dante Lemmon (12), Guy Butler (11) and Jimmy Moore (11) joined Rogers in double figures.
Bobby Sabelhaus, who led the Eagles with 14 points and nine rebounds, scored six points in the first half while teammates Tom Layden (10 points) and Kevin Cummings (seven points, five boards) scored seven points each.
Undermanned McDonogh (seven players) became a victim of the Lakers' relentless man-to-man pressure in the third period and hit only three of 13 shots from the floor. Sabelhaus scored all three inside on a short lay-in, a tip and a put-back.
In the second game, the host Admirals raced out 16-5 in the first period on the strength of 10 points between Jay Lonnie Booth (12 points, four steals) and Javual Mack (12 points, four steals).
Vereen (15 points, seven rebounds, three steals) scored 13 in the second period and Severn led 40-18 at the half.
The Admirals' quickness and 47 percent accuracy (33-for-70) from the floor was too much for the Cavaliers. Spalding shot only 27 percent from the floor, hitting just 15 of 55.
Severn also controlled the boards with 47 rebounds, 21 on the offensive end. Alhamisi Simms led Severn with eight; Vereen, Kevin Schelenski and freshman Dennard Melton added seven each.
"We've got a few guys who can finish and shoot from outside, and that's what we will have to do against Lake Clifton," said Fowler.