When Havre de Grace and Perryville met twice during the regular season, the Warriors' quickness and depth were simply too much for Perryville.
Not much has changed.
Seniors Richard Simpson and Richie Johnson combined for 44 points and the visiting Warriors, getting contributions from everyone, overwhelmed their Cecil County foe.
A 78-56 victory earned Havre de Grace the Class 1A North regional title and a Friday matchup with No. 2 Dunbar, the 1A South champ, at 5 p.m. at the Comcast Center.
It is the Harford County school's 10th berth in the state semifinals, and the first since 1996.
"We are just trying to keep this thing going from football season," said Johnson, who along with Simpson, won a regional title on the Warriors football team. That team was coached by Johnny Brooks, also the basketball coach. "It's been a great year and I just don't want this thing to stop."
Johnson was among the Warriors who tried to cut down the nets before being stopped by Perryville officials.
Other than that, it was a subdued Havre de Grace team, which found its motivation from a series of close regular-season losses - the Warriors lost four games by one point - and a second-round loss in last year's regionals.
"This is great, but to tell you the truth, we expected to be here," Brooks said of his 17-6 team. "We worked really hard and set our goals to be here since we came up short last year."
Perryville's gym was full about a half hour before tipoff yesterday, but the visitors, who brought a big rooting contingent with them, weren't fazed.
The Warriors ran off to a 10-1 lead, thanks to two three-pointers from Simpson (game-high 25 points).
Fifteen first-half Perryville turnovers and the all-around play of Johnson figured prominently in the Warriors' 34-21 halftime lead. Johnson finished with 19 points, but he did almost all of his damage in the first half. By intermission, the senior forward had 11 points, six rebounds, six steals and a block.
Simpson hit Perryville (14-8) with the knockout blow with three fourth-quarter three- pointers. Aaron Rouselle (19 points) and Robert Young (16) tried to keep Perryville in it, but the Warriors, which got scoring from 13 players, were quicker, deeper and more talented.
"I guess it's just the seniors," said Simpson. "We're leading this team as far as we can."
The task for the Warriors gets much more difficult Friday against vaunted Dunbar.
"They have the tradition and are a city team," said Brooks. "We are just going to play as hard as we can and hopefully, good things will happen."
HdG-Johnson 19, Jones 1, Simpson 25, Gregory 4, Mason 3, Waldon 7, Kurlick 2, Minor 8, Smith 1, Hawkins 2, Taylor 3, Shivers 2, Moultrie 1. Totals 27 17-27 78. P-Abrahams 2, Young 16, Hurt 2, Montague 1, Gerber 2, Rouselle 19, Johnston 1, Hagerman 3, Ostroski 8. Totals 18 17-29 56. Half: HdG, 34-21.