Thomas Stone boys down La Plata to move on in Class 2A South Region playoffs; Mitchell scores 30
From the opening tip of Friday night’s Class 2A South Region Section I boys basketball quarter- finals, the Thomas Stone boys basketball team did not give La Plata any breathing room offensively sparked by its suffocat- ing man-to man defense while clogging the passing lanes.
In turn, the fourth-seeded Cougars rolled to a 98-45 victory over the fifth-seeded Warriors in Waldorf.
Despite sweeping La Plata in both regular season meetings 48-46 on Dec. 19 and 53-49 on Feb. 8, the playoff matchup served as a dominant showing on both ends from a more athletic and feisty Stone unit.
“The last two times we played [La Plata] were close games and we watched film all week to prepare and we wanted to focus on playing our style of basketball,” Stone head coach Dale Lamberth said. “We came out with a lot of intensity tonight and I thought that was big for us in the first half that we had.”
With the win, Stone (158 overall) advanced to Tuesday’s section semi- final matchup at top-seed Lackey (16-6). The Char- gers had a bye in the sec- tional quarterfinals.
Both regular season meetings were rather close with Lackey edging the Cougars on the road 59-58 on Jan. 4 and 55-51 on Jan. 21 on its home floor.
“This is the playoffs and Lackey is a different team and we are going to have to go down there and play hard,” said Lamberth, whose team connected on 22 of 28 free throws (76 percent) in Friday’s win. “We are not satisfied and I think it is going to be a good game.”
Stone put its stamp on the game early, jumping out to an 11-0 lead and going up 22-2 at the end of the first quarter as it did not allow a field goal in the period. In the second quarter, the Cougars poured it on with a 30-point period en route to a commanding 52-11 halftime lead to put the game out reach.
La Plata, which scored just four field goals in the first half, did not score its first basket until the 7 minute 45 second mark of the second quarter on a layup by sophomore Ryan Mason.
Stone, which went up 71-21 after three quar- ters, had three players in double figures. Junior swingman Kamau Mitchell led all scorers with 30 points, collecting 17 in the second half, and connecting on all eight of his free throws.
“I was feeling it tonight offensively. It felt like I could score more, but I was happy that we are advancing to the next round,” Mitchell said. “My teammates did a great job of finding me and I was able to get to open spaces on the floor. I think that we can go all the way in the playoffs, we just have to stick together.”
Senior guard Donovan McCrae (5 assists) and sophomore forward Gary Grant each scored 17 points in the win. Trey Queen finished with eight points off the bench and sophomore guard Kevin Skidmore added seven to go along with 10 assists.
“In practice we talked about coming out with a lot of intensity and tonight we did that and played really good defense,” McCrae said. “We held them to two points in the first quarter and just got out in transition.”
La Plata (6-17), which came into the contest af- ter a 73-69 overtime win over St. Charles one week prior in its regular season finale, came out flat and dug itself a deep hole that it wasn’t able to come out of for the rest of the game.
“Thomas Stone came out with more energy and just wanted it more,” La Plata head coach James Douglas said. “Our young guys weren’t ready for the magnitude of the playoffs and couldn’t get a rhythm. Our boys played hard this season and that’s all you can ask for.”
After coming off of a ca- reer-high 45 points in the win over the Spartans, La Plata junior guard Justen Anderson was held to a team-high 15 points.
PHOTO BY ROB WORMAN Thomas Stone junior Kamau Mitchell dunks home two of his game-high 30 points in Friday night’s 98-45 win over visiting La Plata in the Class 2A South Section I boys basketball quarterfinals. Mitchell also was a perfect 8 for 8 from the free throw line.