COLLEGE PARK -- Team Serious finished business last night.
No. 3 Southern-B won its second state 4A championship in three seasons, routing Northwestern of Prince George's County, ranked No. 9 in the Washington area, 64-41, at the University of Maryland last night.
Dedric Galloway and Marlin Wise led a balanced attack for Southern (24-3) with 15 points each and John Hemsley added 12. Sean Smith led Northwestern (17-7) with 10 points.
In winning its third state championship in four seasons, Southern, ranked No. 16 nationally by USA Today, also gave Baltimore City seven state titles in four seasons and a 61-8 record in tournament play.
The Bulldogs, now 16-1 in state postseason play, made it look simple last night, scoring the game's first nine points.
The Bulldogs were a team on a mission this season, not talking to the media for the past month. Southern had hopes of a national championship. That ended with losses to Rice (N.Y.) and St. Anthony's (N.J.) in January.
Their chance to compete for the city championship was ruined when it was upset by Dunbar in early February. After that, Southern had one goal remaining, and it was accomplished.
The Bulldogs finally talked.
"When we lost our chance at the national championship that really hurt us," said Hemsley, a 6-foot-6 swing forward. "We knew after that nothing was going to stop us from getting this."
Against an impressive Northwestern starting front line, including the 6-foot-7 Smith, 6-8 Jamar Gaither and 6-5 Randy Dickerson, Southern's quickness was too much for the Wildcats' man-to-man defense.
The Bulldogs had a double-figure lead for nearly the entire game, with its lowest lead being 15 in the second half after it built a 36-19 halftime lead. "Our game plan was to take it to their big fellows," said Galloway. "They had us outnumbered size-wise, but I think we played smart and their coach made a bad decision playing us man."
Southern opened the second half by scoring six of the first eight points as Marlin Wise followed a jumper by Hemsley with two layups to build a 42-21 lead with 5: 57 remaining in the third quarter.
Northwestern tried to show signs of life, pulling to within 15 at 49-34 with 6: 42 left in the game, but a free throw by Brian Kennedy was followed by a basket by Kofi Pointer.
"Everybody played together all season," said Marlin Wise, a 6-foot-1 senior guard. "We won as a team, not with our individual talents."
For the second straight game, junior Jelani Wise received the starting nod of senior and regular starter Brian Kennedy.
Within the first three minutes, Southern had a 9-0 lead as Galloway had five, including a three-pointer. Another three-pointer by Galloway later in the quarter increased the lead to 18-6.
It was 20-8 after the first period as the Bulldogs hit on nine of 12 shots from the field while Northwestern missed 13 of its 15 attempts.
Hemsley opened the second quarter with six straight, including a pair strong moves to the basket and a free throw by Jelani Wise, extending the Southern lead to 27-8 with 5: 12 remaining in the first half.
The Wildcats got as close as 15 points, but Southern took a 36-19 halftime lead as Hemsley and Galloway led a balanced attack with 10 points each.
"Their coach realized that we were packing it in," said Northwestern coach Leonard Wood. "He has three Division I guards and we've got sophomores and juniors."
Pub Date: 3/10/96