Top seed Severn School was ripe for an upset in the first round of the Maryland Scholastic Association B Conference playoffs last night in Severna Park.
The Admirals had not played in nearly 2 1/2 weeks and were facing an opponent they had dominated in the regular season.
But buoyed by a balanced attack and a pesky man-to-man defense, the 12th-ranked Admirals (19-2) put together a strong second half after two lackluster periods and coasted to a 73-57 victory over fourth seed Boys' Latin (9-13).
Severn will play host to No. 3 seed John Carroll at 4 p.m. today.
In the regular season, the Admirals had disposed of the Lakers by 45 points. But last night, Severn led by only 39-37 at the half and 58-47 after three quarters.
It wasn't until about four minutes remained that the Admirals put it away, taking a 67-52 lead on a layup by junior Jaylonnie Booth.
"After the way we lost to them the first time and Wayne [Fowler, Severn coach] was kind that night because they probably could have scored 130 points, I was proud of the way our kids played tonight," said Boys' Latin coach Hugh Gelston.
"We played hard but missed some layups in the third period, and their man-to-man defense took away our outside shots and three-point shooting."
Severn got into early foul trouble with all its starters getting two fouls each. Fowler pulled them out of their man-to-man defense and went to a
Boys' Latin took advantage, especially in the second quarter, when it hit eight of 14 from the field, five from three-point range.
Wess Lovell (nine points) hit the first two three-pointers in the second period for Boys' Latin, and Brian DeVaney (nine points) hit the last three, the last at the buzzer to make it a 39-37 game in favor of Severn.
Severn went back to its man defense to start the second half, forced a couple turnovers and went on a 6-0 run pushing its lead to 45-37.
By the end of the third period, the Admirals took an 11-point lead three different times before maintaining a 12-point in the first half of the final period.
"Just one of those nights, we had not played for so long and were really out of sync," said Fowler, whose team won its 14th in a row. "I don't think the kids were excited about playing Boys' Latin, and give Latin credit for playing hard. We had great practices recently, but you have to get out there and do it in a game."
After getting back into the swing of things in the second half, the Admirals finished strong with junior John Vereen leading four players in double digits with 14 points.
The Admirals got 13 points each from senior Joe Burke (game-high 10 rebounds) and junior Alhamisi Simms, and 12 points from Booth.
Sophomore center Andrew Watts had seven points and eight rebounds and senior James Carpenter (six points) had five blocks.