Senior George Dick had missed three games because of sickness, but he got well in a hurry Monday night.
He came off the bench to score 20 points and senior Jaime Harich added 16 as the South Carroll boys basketball team advanced to the Class 3A Region I semifinals with a 70-65 victory over visiting Howard Monday night.
The fourth-seeded Cavaliers (11-10) travel to top-seeded Thomas Johnson (16-4) tonight at 7.
The Cavaliers will need another strongeffort tonight to stay with the powerful Patriot team, which tied Westminster for the Central Maryland Conference title.
"We have nothing to lose, so we'll just go out and have fun," South Carroll coach Jim Carnes said. "They're the best team in the area, and we'll have to shut down their inside game."
South Carroll dropped two regular-season meetings against Thomas Johnson, a 84-60 loss at Thomas Johnson on Jan. 11 and a 70-51 home decision on Feb. 5.
"They blew us out over there and then we came back and stayed with them for the firsthalf at home," Carnes said, "We'll give it our best shot, and, who knows, I've seen stranger things happen."
South Carroll never trailed against the fifth-seeded Howard Lions Monday night.
Leading 10-8 with under a minute remaining in the first quarter, Dick converted a three-point play and then hit a jumper at the buzzer to give the Cavs a 15-8 lead after one quarter.
"George (Dick) has been sick andmissed the last three games but came back and played tough inside for us tonight," Carnes said of the forward, who also added eight rebounds.
Midway through the second quarter, Harich connected on a three-pointer and then converted a one-and-one to give the Cavaliers a 25-13 lead.
The Lions came back with five unanswered points to cut the lead to 25-18, but consecutive hoops from Hank Zuretti, Chris Larrick and Harich built the South Carroll lead to 31-18 with 1:32 remaining in the half.
South Carroll took a 33-20 lead into halftime anda 25-15 edge on the boards.
"We came out with a lot of intensity and dominated the boards," Carnes said, "(After Friday's upset loss at North Carroll) The kids could have packed it up but instead showed a lot of class and came out aggressive."
Howard went on an 8-2 runto open the third to cut the South Carroll lead to 35-28 and later got to within six at 45-39 with 1:03 left in the third. South Carroll then went inside to Harich twice to boost the Cavs' lead to 49-39 after three quarters.
The Lions tried to rally in the fourth but could get no closer than six until the final outcome of 70-65.
Howard went with a full-court press with 2:45 remaining in the game, but theCavs had little trouble breaking. Bryan Baker scored on a lay-up andDick added three baskets down the stretch.
Along with his 16 points, Harich added seven rebounds, eight assists and two blocked shots while Larrick and Mike Downs also reached double figures for the Cavswith 10 points.
Alec Sutton paced Howard with 16 points, followedby 15 from Dax Matthews.
South Carroll finished with a decisive 38-28 edge in rebounding.
In the boys' Class 4A Region I first-round matchup Monday, fourth-seeded Seneca Valley eliminated fifth-seededWestminster, 73-59.
Seneca Valley busted out to a 12-point first quarter lead, and the Owls could only pull to within four points midway through the final quarter before going four minutes without scoring to halt the comeback attempt.
Herman Costley ended his illustrious career at Westminster with a game-high 36 points.
The Owls (13-8 overall) finished the season county champs with a unblemished 5-0 record and shared top honors in the Central Maryland Conference with Thomas Johnson with a 10-2 league mark.
In the opening round of theboys' Class 1A Region II tournament Monday, Francis Scott Key was eliminated by host Poolesville 58-53.
Key led, 13-8, after the firstquarter and took a 26-22 lead at half.
Poolesville outscored the Eagles, 36-27, in the second half and took the lead for good at 50-47with a three-pointer by Andy Swick with 3:25 remaining in the game. It was Poolesville's first lead since a 2-0 edge in the opening seconds of the contest.
Senior Brett Garber paced Francis Scott Key with 14 points while Scott Kreit added 12, including a 10-of-11 performance from the charity stripe. The Eagles ended their season with a 6-15 record.