Douglass settles issue against Randallstown

Ducks more than game in North showdown, 81-71

Class 3A boys basketball

March 03, 2002|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The anticipation for yesterday's Class 3A North Regional final between top-ranked Douglass and No. 3 Randallstown had been building since mid-January. With dozens of fans waiting outside the Douglass gym two hours before tip-off, the game was almost anticlimactic.

At the end, it was the Ducks who were left standing in the matchup of unbeatens, advancing to the 3A state semifinals with an 81-71 victory.

In breaking Randallstown's 35-game winning streak, Douglass (26-0) earned itself a meeting with Chopticon of St. Mary's County at 5 p.m. Thursday at Cole Field House in College Park.

The trip to the University of Maryland will mark the first for the West Baltimore school since 1994, when the Ducks made an unlikely run to the 3A title game.

Since assuming the area's No. 1 ranking in late December, Douglass has been a juggernaut. Yesterday, the Ducks put Randallstown on its heels in the opening half by building a 15-point lead, then repelled a third-quarter charge by the defending 3A state champion.

"It wasn't an excellent performance, but it was enough," said Douglass senior guard Tyler Smith. "We struggled a little bit with our shooting, but we played well on defense, and our offense came to us."

Smith led all scorers with 29 points, while junior guard Gerald Brown contributed 17. Junior guard Levi Stukes had 22 points, three rebounds and three assists to lead Randallstown (25-1).

After Randallstown scored seven straight points to take a 7-5 lead, Douglass took control, assuming a 43-26 lead after a layup by Derek Brooks late in the second quarter.

The Rams connected on four of their first five attempts to open the second half and pull within 45-36. Baskets by Stukes and Jerrell McNeil and a three-pointer by Brian McCray brought Randallstown to within 52-47 with 1:58 remaining in the third quarter.

But Douglass closed the quarter with an 8-1 run, capped by Dustin Miles' basket at the buzzer for a 12-point advantage.

Randallstown closed the margin to 71-64 with 2:12 left, but couldn't slow the surging Ducks. A dunk by Richard Dorsey (12 points, five blocks) and a three-pointer by Brown sparked a celebration by Douglass' fans as the Ducks took a 76-64 lead with 72 seconds left.

"I thought we gave it our best shot," said Randallstown coach Kim Rivers, "and they were still able to come out on top."

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