Off To States
— It had been 29 years since North Caroline High’s boys’ basketball team won the region championship and earned a spot in the state tournament.
It took all of about 29 seconds Saturday for the Bulldogs to state their claim that they would be taking this year’s Class 2A East Region title from last year’s winner, Harford Tech.
The first half minute of the game saw senior Joey Adams make a steal, go coast-to-coast for a basket, and Tynez Warner sink a 3-pointer. The 5-2 lead became a 15-2 start within minutes before the Bulldogs’ raucous sellout crowd.
North Caroline kept the intensity high all game, and blew the Cobras out 82-51. The Bulldogs never trailed. They never wavered. They dominated.
Caroline (18-6) will face River Hill, Friday in the state semifinals at the University of Maryland’s Xfinity Center.
“Unfinished business,” Bulldogs head coach Steve Perry said after trouncing the Cobras. “That was our theme all year. I coached here for 10 years before, and that is why I came back for this moment.
“This region title is only part of what we want,” Perry added. “We still have work to do. The kids played outstanding tonight, and have been all year. I believe in them, and they believe in each other.”
Adams put on a show in the first half, scoring 24 points by halftime, which equaled Harford Tech’s
output. Adams hit for two first-half 3s, and when the Cobras pressed Adams, he streaked by for baskets in the lane.
Harford Tech’s guards could not penetrate by Adams and David Bailey. Consecutive steals by Adams led to layups and a 38-20 lead. Bailey’s rebounding sparked the fast-break, and he helped increase the lead to 20 when he grabbed a rebound and found Kendron Wayman for a layup.
“Everybody is playing together. I love it,” Adams said. “I love that brotherhood. It means a lot to bring the region title back to North Caroline.
“We love playing in front of this crowd, this community,” Adams added. “The crowd was awesome tonight. They bring that extra spark.”
When Adams had a rare miss, Cameran Brown cleaned up on the boards. He grabbed 15 rebounds, including eight on the of fensive glass. He also chipped in 10 points in the paint.
“That was the best game Cameran played,” Perry said. “Cam stepped up big for us.”
In the second half, Adams switched roles from a shooter to a passer. He controlled the clock and dished to Ja’Mion Franklin (nine points) and Wayman (12 points) for easy scores. He registered eight of his team-high 10 assists in the second half.
“Joey is a ball player,” Perry said. “He loves to play the game. The sky is the limit for that young man. I’m glad I got him on my team.”
Adams said his teammates help take the pressure off, which keeps other teams off balance.
“One game I could score a lot, and the next I could have a lot of assists,” Adams said. “I trust everybody. They trust me.
“David (eight points) and Tynez (eight points) are great shooters,” Adams added. “We got Ja’Mion, Kendron and Cam working down low. They all make big plays. They have done it all season, and did it tonight.”
By the fourth quarter, a Franklin layup from Adams, and a coast-to-coast layup by Adams increased the Bulldog lead to 68-37. Bailey and Wayman each converted in the paint after offensive rebounds to increase the lead to 35 points.
With four minutes left, Wayman scored on a post move to give North Caroline its largest lead at 80-43. From there, Perry took his starters out to a standing ovation from the sellout crowd.
“All year, our coach has been telling us to work hard,” Brown said. “He believed we could be here. Tonight, we all had the same mentality — just go out there, leave it all out on the court and do what we got to do. It feels good to go across the water and be playing at the University of Maryland.”
PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT North Caroline High senior Joey Adams cuts down the net after the Bulldogs defeated Harford Tech, 82-51, on Saturday to win the Class 2A East Region championship. Adams scored 30 points in the victory.
PHOTOS BY DUSTIN HOLT North Caroline High players and coaches celebrate the Class 2A East Region championship after defeating Harford Tech, 82-51, on Saturday.
North Caroline High students Chloe Kerstetter, Hope Blanketship, Hannah Cantwell and Emily Cantwell celebrate after the Bulldogs won the 2A East Region Title.
North Caroline High’s student section cheers on the Bulldogs during the 2A East Region Title Saturday, March 3.
North Caroline’s Cameran Brown scores on a reverse layup against Harford Tech Saturday, March 3.
North Caroline’s Joey Adams glides in for a layup against Harford Tech Saturday, March 3.
North Caroline’s Tynez Warner scores in the paint against Harford Tech Saturday, March 3.