The Digital Harbor boys basketball team has been known to round into form late in the season to make a strong playoff push, winning consecutive state titles in 2009 and 2010 in that manner.
Coach Johnnie Grimes is hoping the 17th annual Basketball Academy can provide a springboard for a similar run.
So far, so good.
The Rams got 18 points from sophomore guard William Robinson, played stingy zone defense and hit 19-of-22 free throws to come away with a 55-45 win over Woodlawn in the event's opening night Thursday at Morgan State.
Digital Harbor (8-4) will face Owings Mills at 11:15 a.m. Saturday in the Academy's third and final day.
"I thought we came out pretty well in the 1-3-1 [zone], stayed in it, and we got some turnovers, hit some shots and made a lot of free throws," Grimes said. "We're still not getting that thing where we're believing in each other as a team, but I think that's coming with time. This is an excellent start right here."
Junior forward Ian Thomas scored eight of his 12 points in the first quarter, and the Rams got two 3-pointers from Robinson and another from Donte Lloyd to build a 19-11 lead going into the second quarter. The lead would grow to as many as 14 in the second quarter with Robinson's versatile play at the forefront. He relentlessly attacked the basket, going 3-for-4 from the line in the quarter and also scoring two baskets inside as the Rams took a 31-19 halftime lead.
The Warriors, who got 13 points from senior center Justin Brown, tried to rally in the second half and cut the Rams' lead to 40-34 when sophomore guard Teron Owens scored in transition with 6:09 left in the game. But Robinson quickly answered, hitting a 3-pointer on the Rams' next possession for a 43-34 lead that wouldn't be threatened.
Corey Mendez added nine points for the Rams, while Woodlawn got 11 from senior guard Dante Arthur and nine from senior center Malcolm Smith.
No. 14 Randallstown 52, No. 8 Poly 44: Led by senior guard Ahmad Wilson’s 22 points, the Rams (13-3) upset the Engineers (11-4).
Poly had a six-point lead entering halftime and was still ahead at the end of the third quarter. But Randallstown pulled away in the final period, playing lockdown defense and converting free throws down the stretch.
The win was the Rams’ second in as many days.
Patterson 70, Owings Mills 59: Sophomore guard Dereck Oliver scored a game-high 35 points as the Clippers jumped out to a 7-0 lead and stayed in control througout.
Junior Kwynten Books added 15 for Patterson, while Owings Mills got an 18-point effort from senior Ceontay Coit.
(at Morgan State university)
Digital Harbor 55, Woodlawn 45
W –Brown 13, Arthur 11, Smith 9, Owens 8, Chambers 2, McDermott 2 . Totals: 19 6-11 45.
DH – Robinson 18, Thomas 12, Do. Lloyd 7, Mendez 9, De. Lloyd 6, Cherry 2. Totals: 16 19-22 55
Half: DH, 31-19