The matchup between Southwestern and Southern-B yesterday appeared to be a preview for tomorrow's Baltimore City championship game. That was how it looked a week ago.
Each suffered losses last week, leaving Southern out of the championship picture and Southwestern waiting, making the game a possible state 4A playoff preview. It wasn't even that.
The No. 3 Bulldogs scored 20 unanswered points in the first half and cruised to an easy 78-37 victory over the visiting and No. 4 Sabers.
Dedric Galloway led Southern (18-3) with 26 points and John Hemsley added 21. Cornelius McMurray led Southwestern (17-3) with 12 points and Reginald Johnson scored 11.
With Poly defeating Edmondson yesterday, Southwestern is in a three-way tie for first in the City West Division with the Engineers and Walbrook, which upset the Sabers last Thursday. There will be a meeting today to decide who wins the tiebreaker and advances to the city title game at No. 2 Dunbar at 5 p.m. tomorrow.
After its performance yesterday, Southwestern may be better off not winning the tiebreaker. The Sabers scored only 20 points in the final three quarters after scoring 17 in the first period.
"I could see in the second quarter that we weren't mentally into the game," said Southwestern coach Terry Leverette, whose team has lost its past two games. "At halftime, I asked them to play smart basketball, and they never did it."
If Southwestern loses the tiebreaker, it will play at Northwestern next week in the state 4A North regional quarterfinals. Southern will play host to Mervo in the opening round on Friday.
The Bulldogs, whose loss at Dunbar last Wednesday cost them the East Division title, showed why they are the early favorite to win the North region title. Southern, seeking a third state championship in four seasons, led by 18 points at halftime and 55-28 after three quarters.
"We wanted to dictate the tempo of the game," said Southern coach Meredith Smith. "We know they are an excellent three-point shooting team, and we wanted to push up on them and control the boards."
The Sabers led 17-13 after a three-pointer by Johnson, the last of three straight by Southwestern, but didn't hit another from behind the arc.
Hemsley started the 20-0 run with a jumper with 1:12 left in the first quarter that was followed by consecutive three-pointers by Galloway, giving Southern a 21-17 advantage.
* Poly 85, Edmondson 63: Owain States scored 31 points, John McLean added 27 and the two combined for 11 steals and eight blocks as the Engineers (16-5) won at Edmondson. Poly finishes the season with a 6-1 record in the Baltimore City West Division tied for first with Southwestern and Walbrook.