Several college coaches were on hand last night to watch Alhamisi Simms. The Severn guard gave them plenty to see.
Simms helped No. 12 Severn come awake after a slow start, scoring 24 points and grabbing 12 rebounds as the Admirals held off a late charge from The Heights for an 81-73 victory in an Independent Schools Tournament semifinal at Archbishop Curley.
Second-seeded Severn (24-8) will try for its second consecutive tournament championship when it plays top-seeded St. Paul's tonight at 8. The Crusaders advanced to the title game with a PTC 57-52 victory over seventh-seeded Curley.
For Severn, the biggest problem against third-seeded The Heights (16-12) was playing its game. The Cavaliers came out firing three-pointer after three-pointer and, sparked by Mike Langley (26 points), took a 15-10 lead.
But once the Admirals got into their fast-break game, they took over.
"That's really the biggest part of our game," said Severn coach Wayne Fowler, who also got 18 points from Dennard Melton and 13 from John Vereen. "If we get that going, we're fine."
Simms' six points sparked a 15-3 run late in the first quarter that gave the Admirals a 27-20 lead after one.
Simms finished with 15 points in the first half, and, combined with Jaylonnie Booth's (15 points), helped the Admirals to a 50-37 lead at the break.
Simms stepped up once more as the Admirals fought off a fourth-quarter rally. He went 6-for-8 from the line (12-for-14 overall) as the Admirals (28-for-37 from the line) sailed.
For St. Paul's (22-4), it was not quite as easy. The Crusaders had to rally from a 12-point third-quarter deficit for victory.
The Crusaders outscored Curley (12-15) by 18-6 in the final quarter. Tiano Brown (14 points) and Justin Singleton (10 points) contributed clutch shots to seal the victory for St. Paul's.
St. Paul's, down 40-28 in the third quarter, scored 11 of the first 12 fourth-quarter points and took a 50-47 lead on Garth Timoll's three-pointer.
Mike Palmere (16 points) made a layup for Curley to cut it to 50-49 before Singleton's free throw made it a two-point game. Jason Karolkowski (16 points) then hit a short jumper to tie it at 51.
But Brown made two layups -- after Curley twice missed the first shot in one-and-ones -- the second one coming with 1:09 left for a 55-51 lead.