By Glenn Graham, The Baltimore Sun
11:08 PM EDT, March 14, 2013
The Poly boys basketball team needed some time to get comfortable in the Class 4A state semifinal at the University of Maryland's Comcast Center on Thursday night.
Going against defending state champion Magruder, it was time the No. 10 Engineers simply couldn't afford.
Falling behind early, the Engineers did all they could to climb back, but the Colonels had more than enough answers to come away with a 62-50 win.
The Engineers' offensive struggles led to the loss as they only shot 24 percent from the field and made only two of 16 from behind the 3-point line.
"The telling stat was we actually had 22 more field-goal attempts than they did and made five less shots. It's going to be tough to win any basketball game if that's the case," Poly coach Sam Brand said.
Despite poor shooting and falling behind by as many as 12 points early — 24-12 midway through the second quarter — the Engineers relied on their defense to get close after halftime. With 19 points and 10 rebounds from senior forward Darrion Stokes-Graham, Poly cut to within five points of the Colonels three times in the third quarter.
But Magruder, which got 17 points from Justin Witmer and 14 each from Nick Griffin and J.J. Epps, never let the Engineers get any closer.
When Stokes-Graham hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 45-39 with 5:26 left in the fourth quarter, Epps quickly responded with a jumper on the next possession and then the Colonels, from Montgomery County, hit 10 straight free throws to stretch their lead at the end of the game.
Despite the loss, the Engineers finished the season with a 20-7 record, winning the North region to reach the program's second state tournament.
"As far as my senior year, it was good," Stokes-Graham said. "I loved every minute of it. Playing with my brothers and everything about the season — we all played hard. I've been here all four years and getting to Comcast was a goal every year and we finally accomplished it."
Magruder (24-2) will defend its title against Eleanor Roosevelt in Saturday's Class 4A title game, which is scheduled for 8 p.m. at Comcast Center.
Class 4A semifinal
Magruder 62, 10 Poly 50
P – Stokes-Graham 19, Quickley 10, Crosby 11, Kelly 4, Wyche 2, White 1, Harris 1, McCray 2 .Totals: 16 16-24 50.
M – Griffin 14, Witmer 17, Rucker 7, Epps 14, Ricketts 4, Coleman 5, Jones 1. Totals: 19 16-18 62.
Half: M, 30-19
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