Park showed Lutheran the importance of defense and free-throw shooting yesterday.
The aggressive Park defense stifled the Lutheran offense, and the Bruins broke the game open in the second half by hitting 21 of 27 from the line to score a 61-50 victory in a Maryland Scholastic Association C Conference semifinal.
Third-seeded Park (8-7) advances to the C Conference championship tomorrow at 8 p.m. against top-seeded Bowling Brook Prep at Goucher College.
Second-seeded Lutheran (14-6) never hit its stride offensively. The Park pressure forced 18 turnovers and disrupted the Lutheran offense.
The Saints finished by hitting only 18 of 48 from the field. Lutheran scored only six points in the first and third quarters.
"I said I thought the game would be determined by who made the fewest mistakes and hit the most free throws," said Park coach Lucky Mallonee.
Both teams struggled in the first half, which ended with Park on top 24-18. The Bruins then picked up the pace in the second half and caused Lutheran trouble.
Park started stepping into the passing lanes and intercepting and knocking away passes. The Bruins then went to a spread offense, and Mallonee told the players to drive whenever possible.
After shooting five free throws in the first half, Park drew 27 in the second half. Despite making eight second-half baskets, the Bruins gradually increased their lead.
The Bruins forced five turnovers in the first four minutes of the third quarter. They also scored five of the first seven to take a 29-20 lead on Cameron Stanley's layup. Lutheran never came closer than seven again.
Stanley (game-high 21 points) sparked the Bruins in the second half. He helped cause several turnovers and made all eight free throws.
Park also got help from Jon Grissom (20 points, 11 rebounds), who controlled play inside. Guard Jon McIntyre also helped disrupt the Lutheran offense.
Joel Davis led Lutheran with 20 points, but Park kept him quiet much of the game. Davis scored 10 of his points in the fourth quarter as the Saints tried to rally.
Cold spells from the field hurt Lutheran. The Saints had four stretches of at least two minutes -- including one of 6:28 -- without a basket.
Lutheran started the game by making two baskets in the first 30 seconds. The Saints made their third straight shot with 6:04 left to take a 6-4 lead. The next Lutheran basket, however, came early in the second quarter with Park on top by nine. The Bruins never trailed again.
"I think their defense played a part in it," said Lutheran coach Tom Lentsch. "[Also] we did not keep our composure."