No. 2-ranked Southern-Baltimore and No. 4 Douglass, the Class 4A North region's top seeds, will collide for the region title at 6 tonight after winning semifinal games at Poly yesterday.
The top-seeded Bulldogs held off No. 12 Walbrook, 66-59, and Douglass advanced with a 67-65 victory over defending 4A state champ Lake Clifton. The teams will meet at Poly for a spot in next Thursday night's 4A state semifinals at the University of Maryland.
The Ducks (17-4) survived a valiant effort from the 11th-seeded Lakers, who led 65-62 with 48 seconds left but then saw Douglass score the final five points to advance.
Junior forward Dontae Truitt's 21 points led Douglass, and Davon Collier added 19. Tyrone Burns led Lake Clifton (15-7) with 21 points.
Collier's two free throws with nine seconds remaining put Douglass ahead to stay. The Ducks regained possession on the ensuing inbounds but took an ill-advised shot, giving Lake Clifton one more chance with three seconds left.
After a timeout, Tavon Melvin threw the inbound pass down the court, but Antonio Regis was called for pushing Anthony Knox in the back trying to get the pass. Knox converted one of two free throws with two seconds left and also knocked away Lake Clifton's last attempt.
"We knew this was going to be tough," said Douglass coach Rodney Cofield, whose team escaped with a 52-51 win over the Lakers in January. "Our kids were working hard for this all season. I guess there was no denying us."
"Our inexperience showed," said Lake Clifton coach Herman Harried, whose team beat higher seeds Southwestern and Dulaney to reach the semifinals. "They competed. We weren't supposed to be here. Everybody wrote us off. I'm proud of what those kids accomplished."
In yesterday's first semifinal, All-Metro guard Melvin Scott of Southern (19-5) scored a game-high 27 points for the city champion, which advanced to final for the fifth time in eight seasons.
Daevon Haskins and Donte Draper each scored 12 for Walbrook.
The Bulldogs were clinging to a 60-58 advantage with 43 seconds remaining in regulation but dropped four of six free throws to inch away from Walbrook after building a 16-point first half cushion.
"We played a little shaky and made it a little harder than it should have been," said Scott.
The Warriors (17-5) caught up to Southern, tying the contest at 34 late in the third quarter, but a couple of technical fouls knocked them back into chase mode.
With 36 seconds left in the third period, Walbrook assistant Kevin Williams was hit with a technical, leading to five Southern points, capped by a three-point play from William Joyner that made the Bulldogs' lead 43-35.
The Warriors closed to 54-52 with 2: 32 remaining, but George Washington was hit with a technical after disputing a foul on Scott. Scott converted three of four free throws, pushing the Bulldogs' lead to 57-52.
"I don't think the technical fouls made a difference, because there was a lot of time," said Walbrook coach Kelvin Bridges, whose team missed nine free throws (24 of 33). "They wanted it more. You're looking an experienced ball club [that] has been there before."