Tro­jans cap­ture first-ever re­gion crown

Record Observer - - Sports -

WOR­TON — Af­ter earn­ing an­other chance at tak­ing down Po­comoke, the Tro­jans didn’t dis­ap­point their home crowd Satur­day af­ter­noon in the Class 1A East Re­gion cham­pi­onship game.

With tena­cious ex­e­cu­tion, Kent County High won its first boys’ bas­ket­ball re­gion ti­tle in school his­tory with a 77-69 vic­tory over the War­riors at Tro­jans Arena.

With­out Player of the Year Manny Cam­per and with mas­ter­ful se­nior point guard Mar­c­quan Greene lim­ited by foul trou­ble in the first three quar­ters, the Tro­jans pro­duced a fourth-quar­ter rally against the de­fend­ing re­gion champs.

Kent County ad­vances to play Fri­day at 3 p.m. at the Xfin­ity Cen­ter in Col­lege Park against Fair­mont Heights in the state semi­fi­nals. The win­ner plays Satur­day at 1 p.m.

Se­nior guard She’mar Turner fin­ished with a game-high 24 points to lead the Tro­jans, in­clud­ing 13 points in the fourth quar­ter, in­clud­ing his team’s fi­nal seven.

“At the end, we pres­sured their young guards and made them turn the ball over, and we ex­e­cuted off of that,” Turner said.

With Kent up 73-69, Turner gained some dis­tance from his de­fender, col­lected an in­bounds bounce pass from Ricky Bowser near mid-court, drove to the hoop, and scored with 45 sec­onds to play.

“I said I got to go get it,” Turner said. “If I didn’t go get that we might have lost the game.”

A des­per­a­tion 3-pointer by Po­comoke’s Ty­rone Matthews missed its mark and Turner added a pair of free throws to seal the vic­tory.

The War­riors took their first lead with 3 min­utes, 10 sec­onds left in the third quar­ter, and led 65-58 with 5:25 left in the fourth; Kent County outscored them 19-4 the rest of the way.

Bowser, who fin­ished with 15 points, teamed with Wayne Whye, Tyrell Henry and Arlington John­son in­side the paint to limit the ef­fec­tive­ness of Po­comoke’s taller play­ers Branden Townsend and Kwa­maine Atkins. But it was the Tro­jans’ abil­ity to de­fend against the out­side shoot­ing of Ty­rone Matthews that may have made the dif­fer­ence. Mathews’ only two three­p­oint­ers came in the first quar­ter, and he was held to 15 points. Townsend led the War­riors with 21 points and Atkins scored 20.

The Tro­jans (20-4) opened the game with a crowd­pleas­ing 6-0 run that blos­somed to a 24-10 lead with 1:25 left in the first quar­ter. Takai Caulk (13 points) hit three 3-point­ers in the early going, in­clud­ing two straight from the left base­line, to put Kent County up by 14 with 1:05 left in the quar­ter.

Greene picked up his sec­ond foul with 16 sec­onds to go in the first quar­ter.

“Mar­c­quan couldn’t stay out of foul trou­ble,” Tro­jans head coach Sobaye Scott said. “That’s one thing be­ing guard-ori­ented. I told the guys when Mar­c­quan got the fouls, ‘Look, we just got to play smart, we got to spread the floor’. We still got the guards out on the floor that’s a lit­tle in­ex­pe­ri­enced, but with him not be­ing out on the floor and a leader, I told the rest of ‘em, ‘It’s a col­lab­o­ra­tion thing that you’ve got to do. We still got to cut, we still got to spread ‘em. We still got to be ag­gres­sive on the boards,’ even though they were taller than us.”

Kent County led 24-16 at the end of the first quar­ter and 45-37 at the half.

Po­comoke opened the sec­ond half with a 6-0 run: Delonte Mills crossed the lane and scored with a floater; Townsend hit a short jumper; and Tyree Thorn­ton stole the ball and net­ted a layup. The War­riors took a 5554 lead with 1:13 left in the third quar­ter on a free throw by Atkins, and they led 57-56 head­ing into the fourth.

Two bas­kets by Atkins and one each by Thorn­ton and Matthews gave the War­riors a 65-58 lead be­fore Kent County ral­lied.

“At one point, they made a strong push be­cause they were us­ing a high-low with their bigs,” Scott said. “We didn’t have our hands up on de­fense. With our hands up on de­fense, we was de­flect­ing a lot of passes. One thing I can credit to my boys is with be­ing un­der­sized they’re really ath­letic and they can jump. So a lot of teams give us the eye-ball test and say, ‘Oh well, we’re taller than ‘em, we out­play ‘em,’ but that’s when I tell ‘em, ‘The mental got to come in and ef­fect your phys­i­cal. First of all, you’ve got to get into good po­si­tion to box out. Sec­ond, you’ve got to use your phys­i­cal abil­ity to jump, to grab the re­bound, but when you grab it, you’ve got to grab it and snatch it.’”

Whye hit a turn­around one-han­der and Turner drained a pull-up jumper to cut Po­comoke’s lead to 65-62 with 4:45 re­main­ing. Greene snared a de­fen­sive re­bound, raced up­court, and canned a jumper: 65-64. A Thorn­ton put­back gave the War­riors a 67-64 lead, but Turner then col­lected a feed from Bowser on a base­line cut and scored to make it 6766 with 2:45 left.

De­fense by Whye cre­ated a missed shot by Townsend on the next pos­ses­sion and Turner fol­lowed with a base­line jumper for a 68-67 Kent lead with 2:14 re­main­ing. Atkins then found the net af­ter grab­bing a loose ball in­side the lane, but that ended the War­riors’ scor­ing.

A bucket by Greene put Kent up, 70-69, and Turner took over from there.

The War­riors (12-12) were whis­tled for two fla­grant fouls in the fi­nal min­utes, but the Tro­jans missed all four foul shots.

Scott said Caulk missed prac­tice on Fri­day be­cause he was fight­ing off pneu­mo­nia, which ham­pered the Tro­jans’ press break early.

Cam­per, last sea­son’s North Bay­side Player of the Year, watched the ac­tion from the bench af­ter be­ing hurt in the Bay­side Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game against Stephen De­catur.

The Tro­jans fell 80-62 to Po­comoke in last year’s re­gion ti­tle game.

What was the dif­fer­ence this year?

“De­fense, div­ing af­ter loose balls, box­ing out, lis­ten­ing to our coach, and just

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