City captures program's first title in 40 years

boys basketball state class 2a final

March 15, 2009|By Mike Frainie | Mike Frainie,Special to The Baltimore Sun

COLLEGE PARK -As the clock hit zero in No. 8 City's 55-42 victory over Frederick Douglass of Prince George's County in the Class 2A state championship, it all got to be a little overwhelming for Knights senior Maurice Johnson.

As his teammates celebrated, Johnson cried.

The senior lost his father last summer in a motorcycle accident, and he dedicated his season to him.

"I thought of him then," Johnson said. "It was all for him."

Johnson - who led the Knights with 16 points - and his City teammates won the school's first boys basketball state championship. The last time City (21-6) won a season-ending title was in 1969, when it played in the Maryland Scholastic Association.

Freshman Charles Tapper contributed 12 points and 11 first-half rebounds. Nardi Bogues also had 12 for City. Justin Mays paced Douglass (15-11) with 14 points.

"We made history tonight," junior center Jordan Latham said. "Forty years since the last title. Ten years since the last regional title. This is real big for us."

The game was tight through the first three quarters, but City took the lead for good at 30-28 on Johnson's layup with 3:05 left in the third quarter. From that point on, the Knights went on an 11-4 run to take a 41-33 lead on Latham's dunk with 5:23 left in the game.

The Eagles came back, using a jumper by Soloman Fennel and a four-point play by Eric Washington, who was fouled while shooting a three-pointer, to cut the lead to 41-39 with just less than five minutes to go.

City turned up the defensive intensity and held the Eagles scoreless until the 1:46 mark, when Timmone Whatley converted a free throw. Meanwhile, Bogues went 8-for-8 from the free-throw line in the last five minutes to cement the victory.

"Free throws are a big part of my game," Bogues said. "I practiced them this morning. I knew I had to keep my head in the game and knock them in down the stretch."

The Knights held Douglass to 29.2 percent shooting from the field in the second half.

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