No. 5 Digital Harbor's A'Lexus Harrison, left,… (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore…)
The Digital Harbor starting five certainly did its part in Wednesday's Baltimore City Division I girls basketball championship game.
A'Lexus Harrison, Tye Smith, Miqueara Lewis, Infiniti Alston and Jaida Scarborough combined to play almost the entire game against No. 7 City. Harrison led the way with 19 points and 16 rebounds, but everyone pitched in as No. 5 Digital Harbor won, 60-43, in the title game at Baltimore City Community College.
Digital Harbor coach Patrick McDonald kept the starters in for all but about four minutes in the game, and each one helped out.
Smith added 16 points and six assists, while Lewis had 12 points and nine rebounds. Alston (seven points, six rebounds) and Scarborough (six points) also played a role.
"We had to take care of business as a team tonight," Harrison said. "Team first, second and third."
Each of the starters stepped up in different spots. Harrison, the Maryland-bound senior, scored nine in the fourth quarter as the Rams closed the game out. She also did a good job of helping bring the ball up against the Knights' pressure defense.
Smith scored eight of her points in the third quarter as Digital Harbor (19-4) turned a 24-19 halftime lead into a comfortable edge. The Rams stretched it to 42-28 after three quarters, and City (20-3) never threatened again.
Poor shooting proved to be the Knights' biggest problem. They had a number of long cold stretches that let Digital Harbor stay in control, going 2-for-15 in the first quarter and missing 20 of 22 from the field in the third.
The Rams were a bigger team, and City often seemed hesitant to drive to the basket or go into the paint against Alston.
Digital Harbor also used some different zone defenses against the Knights, going to a 2-3, 3-2 and the unusual 1-1-3 defense, working hard to keep City away from the basket.
The strategy paid off as the Knights constantly fired away from long distance. Most of City's shots came from beyond or neat the 3-point line, and the Knights couldn't make them. Dyzhanay Burton (17 points) and Trana' Ford (16) paced the Knights.
"We needed to penetrate, and we didn't," City coach George Petrides said. "A lot of that had to do with their defense. Their key players played big today."
McDonald loved his defense's intensity and said he believed that effort was a big reason the Rams won on a night when they had some offensive problems.
"We knew defense was going to be the catalyst," McDonald said. "We wanted them to feel uncomfortable. It was ugly, but at the end of the day, it was good basketball for Baltimore City."
Mervo 55, Ben Franklin-Masonville 38: Crystal Crawford scored a game-high 22 points to help the Mustangs control play in the second half against the Bayhawks in the Division II title game.
Crawford helped Mervo (19-2) rally after Ben Franklin-Masonville (17-3) cut the Mustangs' lead to 27-25 early in the third quarter. Mervo kept making plays and quickly broke the game open.
"We had momentum going," Crawford said. "We had to stay focused."
Kelsey Gould and End'dya Barnes both added 12 points for Mervo, and Cheyenne Shongo led Ben Franklin-Masonville with 19.
5 Digital Harbor 60, 7 City 43
C- Burton 17, Ford 16, Bea 6, Hutchins 2, Carrington 2. Totals: 14 10-20 43.
D-T. Smith 16, Lewis 12, Scarborough 6, Harrison 19, Alston 7. Totals: 19 18-23 60. Half: D, 24-19.