Digital Harbor boys finish strong, capture 2A state title

March 12, 2011|By Todd Karpovich, Special to The Baltimore Sun

COLLEGE PARK — — It was almost symbolic that Digital Harbor converged together as one on the floor of the University of Maryland's Comcast Center after winning the Class 2A state championship Saturday against Easton.

What began as a roster filled with talented transfers ended in one giant, unified heap at center court. After a tight three quarters, Digital Harbor pulled away near the end for a 64-46 victory. It was the second state championship appearance and victory for the Rams, who won the Class 1A title in 2009.

Digital Harbor coach Johnnie Grimes was not surprised that his team was one of three from Baltimore City competing for a state title. The fierce rivalries within the league harden teams heading into the playoffs, he said.

"It's just playing against Patterson, Dunbar, City, Edmondson; those are some tough games," Grimes said. "It's a lot of good basketball in Baltimore City and Baltimore County, too. We had a crazy first six or seven games. Basketball is basketball. I'm not going to sugarcoat it with some soft games."

Kevin Smith was one of four Rams to score in double figures, with 17 points. Nyme Manns had 16 points, Daquan Cook had 15 and Antonio Manns finished with 14. Digital Harbor scored 31 points off 21 Easton turnovers. Jah'Sheme Ringgold had 24 points for Easton (24-4).

Digital Harbor (16-7) led 28-26 at the half, but had trouble pulling away against the Warriors' pesky man-to-man defense. However, Cook provided some breathing room with seven consecutive points in a 9-0 run to increase the lead to nine with two minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Smith said one of the keys to the season was getting on the same page as Cook in the backcourt.

"We have real good chemistry now," Smith said. "We know what each other can do now. We know the second half is our time to step up."

A pair of free throws by Ringgold cut the margin to 41-38 heading into the final quarter. Digital Harbor increased the lead to six on a 3-pointer by Smith and a pair of free throws by Antonio Manns with 5:38 left in the game. Digital Harbor went to a box-and-one, effective neutralizing Easton's offense.

Consecutive baskets by Nyme Manns provided a 10-point margin a minute later, and Easton never pulled within 10 the rest of the way. Smith emphatically sealed the win with a thunderous dunk with 1:11 remaining.

"Today, I had to do what I had to do for the team," Nyme Manns said. "We just had to go out there and play hard and do whatever we had to do."

E – Ringgold 24, Greene 2, Gibson 3, Jeter 8, Miller 4, Washington 1, Pulley 2, Bullock 2.

Totals: 17 10-13 46

DH – A. Manns 14, Cook 15, N. Manns 16, Epps 2, K. Smith 17. Totals: 19 24-34 64.

Half: DH: 28-26

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