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Laurel basketball squads ousted in sectional semifinals

Laurel basketball squads ousted in sectional semifinals
Laurel High's Taychaun Hubbard scored 18 points in the Spartans' season-ending 68-41 loss to Parkdale in the sectional semifinals. (File photo/2015)

In a high-scoring Class 4A South Section II tournament contest, the Spartans scored 83 points – with 53 coming after halftime.

It was the most points that Laurel scored in a game this season.

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That is normally enough to win a high school game but Laurel allowed Bladensburg to score 94 points on March 2 and the fell 94-83 in the sectional semifinals.

Bladensburg eventually lost in the regional finals to Eleanor Roosevelt on March 4.

Laurel's run to the region semifinals was the first time they went that far in several years, according to head coach Torrence Oxendine.

Antone Matthews, a junior, had 26 points for Laurel while Kirk Hawkins had 25. But the Spartans yielded 40 points to Prince Obike of Bladensburg, while Daniel Oladapo added 25.

"We got down early and we ended up fighting back," Oxendine said. "They shot twice as many free throws as we made. It is tough to win like that. If you give up more than 70 points it is tough to win."

After a first–round bye, the second-seeded Spartans defeated Northwestern 77-60 before they ended the season with the loss to Bladensburg and finished 12-11 overall.

"It was a pretty good season for us," Oxendine said. "I think we fell short a little bit of our goal. We felt we had a team that was good enough to get to the regional finals. The Prince George's 4A it is one of the best public school conferences, not only in the state, but in the area."

The loss ended the prep careers of seniors Fobai Mbamaku, Enoh Enoh, Jeremiah Pittman, Eric Elue, Caleb Gasbarro and Michael Okeke.

Enoh was one of the main starters, along with juniors Tyler Sterling and Ke'shon Hill-Kearney. Hawkins averaged about 19 points per game while Matthews was around 10.

"He really came on strong the last few games," Oxendine said of Matthews.

One of the highlights of the season was when Hawkins went over the 1,000 point mark for his career in a game last month against Croom. Hawkins is attracting attention from several Division II and III schools, according to Oxendine.

Laurel girls fall in playoffs

The Laurel High girls basketball season came to an end with a 68-41 loss at Parkdale in the Maryland 4A South Section II semifinals.

The Spartans were paced by sophomore guard Taychaun Hubbard (18 points) and senior Symone Grant (8 points).

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Laurel trailed 33-21 at halftime against Parkdale, which improved to 17-7.

The second-seeded Spartan girls had a first-round bye and opened with an 84-40 victory over third-seeded High Point.

The Spartans finished 9-13 in veteran coach Tommy Harrison's 15th season after posting a mark of 11-14 in 2014-15.

Locals on college courts

Laurel resident and Pallotti graduate Tiffany Padgett scored four points and had five rebounds for George Mason University in a win over Dayton in the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament March 3 in Richmond, Virginia.

It was the first win ever in five tries for Mason against Dayton, which has appeared in the previous six NCAA tournaments.

Padgett then had two rebounds and no points in nine minutes as a starter as the Patriots lost 78-48 to No. 1 seed George Washington on March 4. Mason ended the year 12-19 overall.

Aki Thomas, a former Laurel resident, was fired on March 3 after four seasons as the men's basketball coach at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The team was 28-95 under Thomas, with a record of 7-25 this season.

Laurel resident Dominque Johnson (Riverdale Baptist) scored 17 points for the Towson University's women's team in a 71-65 victory over William & Mary at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro against No. 7 seed William & Mary in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament.

The Tigers were the No. 10 seed out of 10 schools after going 7-23 overall and 3-15 in the CAA during regular-season play. James Madison is the No. 1 seed, and the tourney title contest is March 12.

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