Top seeded Sanford along with Mt. Pleasant, Delcastle & St. Georges all advance
The first of four quarterfinal boys basketball games featured the 14th seeded St. Thomas More Ravens facing the 6th seeded, Flight-B champions St. Georges Hawks. Behind the steady play and leadership of junior guard #2, Kyson Rawls, who scored a game-high 20 points, St. Georges was able to come from behind and stop the Ravens post-season run 45-39. St. Thomas More’s offense was clicking in the first half with junior guard #0 Corey Gordon and sophomore guard #2 Gregory Bloodsworth leading the offensive charge. The Ravens reeled off a 12-0 run early in the second period, forcing St. Georges Head Coach Rod Griffin to use a timeout with his team down 18-9, 6:28 left before halftime. Each team scored 8 more points and St. Thomas More went into halftime with a 26-17 lead and two quarters away from perhaps, a second straight upset after defeating #3 Dover in the second round. The second-half was a different story as St. Georges held the Ravens to just 13 points, taking their first
lead 39-38 after freshman guard #11, Nah’Shon Hyland scored two of his nine points finishing-off the Hawks fast-break. It was a close game in the final minutes as junior #2, Rawls converted 6 free throws to help seal the win 45-39. The Ravens, who didn’t have any seniors playing significant minutes looked confused in crunch-time as to who would take the big-shot or how to counter St. Georges comeback. It was a big game with a few pressurized moments that the state tournament always provides. The young Ravens squad can learn a lot from this experience; after stunning Dover and having St. Georges against the ropes, they just couldn’t close it out. Much deserved credit to the St. Thomas More coaching staff and players, it was a good run and their future looks bright. St. Georges on the other hand has been to this point and beyond. Their recent tournament success includes losing to Salesainum in the 2014 finals and a deep run in 2015.
The second match-up on the slate had the 2nd seeded William Penn Colonials up against a familiar opponent, Flight-A foe, the 7th seeded Delcastle Cougars. Having already played each other once in the regular season way back on December 15th, the Colonials edged the Cougars 46-45. This would prove to be Delcastle’s revenge. It took all 32 minutes of regulation and 12 minutes of three overtime sessions for the Cougars to finally put-down the Colonials 54-49. Both teams squandered many chances to put the other team away in regulation and each of the overtimes but Delcastle made more plays in the end to avenge that early season set-back from William Penn. Sophomore forward #10, Justin Gray-Smith scored only five points but had a tremendous game defensively with 12 rebounds and 8 blocked shots. Senior guards #11 Desmond Gould and #4 Ahmere Dorsey led the offense with 15 and 11 points respectively. In their last game playing for the Colonials, seniors #10 Markee Johnson & #20 Danny Walsh scored 16 and 14 points respectively for their squad.
With the previous game taking almost three hours to finish, the 4th seeded Mount Pleasant Green Knights were ready to make it back to the final four and maybe a step further when they finally tipped-off versus the fifth seeded Smyrna Eagles. Having bounced the Eagles from the tournament in 2015, Mount Pleasant knew Smyrna would also be out for revenge. The Green Knights wouldn’t give them the chance to as they led 13-5 after one period and 24-15 at halftime, never letting Smyrna into the game. Mount Pleasant led wire-to-wire to defeat the Eagles 53-45 knocking them out of the tournament for the second straight year. The usual crew for Mount Pleasant did their damage as senior guards #0, Raheim Burnett (13 pts.) his partner #5, Rob Myrick (8 pts.) not only keyed the offense but both were highly involved defensively. Locking-down Smyrna guard senior #21, Ja’vier Worthy who notched his 1,000th point in 2016, holding him to a tough 15 points. Green Knight senior guard #20, Jaire Brown had a nice game with 4 steals and 8 points, all on nicely executed pull-up jumpers.
The last game of the night was the top-seeded Sanford Warriors taking on the 9th seeded Milford Buccaneers. Sanford’s electric senior guard #3, Mikey Dixon (25 pts.) got off to a fast start scoring six of his teams first 12 points including two rim-wrecking dunks that let everyone in attendance know why he’s playing Division I basketball next year. The Warriors led 40-23 at half and went on to win 64-49, setting up what many think is the actual state title game in the semi-finals against Mount Pleasant.
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