FORESTVILLE -- A third quarter coaching decision and the relentless offense of Anthony Breland and Murray Graves powered No. 13-ranked Oakland Mills to the Class 1A South region championship over Forestville last night, 76-58.
The Scorpions (22-3), state champs in 1990, return to the final four for the first time since 1995, when they lost to Dunbar in the Class 2A final. They'll play the East region champions at 3 p.m. Friday at College Park.
Breland (33 points, 13 rebounds, two blocked shots) and Graves (32 points, nine rebounds, two blocks), both 6 feet 5, gave the Scorpions a considerable height advantage against the Prince George's County opponents (3-20), a small, quick team that struggled against bigger county teams.
"It feels great to be going to College Park," Breland said "This is my senior year, and that's what it's all about."
Oakland Mills used its height to take an 18-7 lead after the first quarter. Forestville shot 1-for-9 from the floor and made six turnovers that quarter against the Scorpions' pressing defense. The Knights committed 25 turnovers.
Forestville stayed in the game with its free-throw shooting, as 12 of its 26 first-half points were from the foul line. They were 18-for-29 at the line in the game. The Knights trailed 33-26 at halftime.
Graves, who has 53 dunks this season, turned his second dunk of the game into a three-point play and a 38-28 Oakland Mills lead early in the third quarter.
But Forestville's Staley Harley scored six straight points on drives. Another driving basket by Reggie Johnson sliced Oakland Mills' lead to 40-36 with 4: 29 left in the third quarter, before Scorpions coach Dave Appleby changed to a infrequently used zone defense.
"The turning point was when we took the press off and went to the zone," Appleby said. "They were beating us down the floor and that slowed them down."
Oakland Mills went on a 15-3 run the rest of that quarter and led 55-39.
Forestville never recovered despite the fact that Oakland Mills guard Davon Smith fouled out with 6: 29 left and starting point guard Tom Browne fouled out with 4: 12 to play.
Oakland Mills continued to build its lead to 75-55 with a minute to play, when Appleby took out his starters.
Pikesville wins 1A North
Jermaine Sawyer scored a game-high 28 points, and Tavon Cloude added 23 to help visiting Pikesville knock off Rising Sun, 77-59, to win the Class 1A North title and advance to the state semifinals in College Park next week.
The Panthers (17-7) led 34-29 at halftime.
Steven Tambasco had 23 points to lead Rising Sun.
State semifinals University of Maryland Cole Field House
City vs. Gwynn Park, 3
Aberdeen vs. Thomas Johnson, 5
Meade vs. today's Oxon Hill-Eleanor Roosevelt winner, 7
Lake Clifton vs. today's Sherwood-Gaithersburg winner, 9
Oakland Mills vs. today's Pocomoke-North Dorchester winner, 3
Pikesville vs. today's South Hagerstown-Southern-Gar- rett winner, 5
Dunbar vs. Central, 7
Einstein vs. Edgewood, 9
Saturday / Finals
Class 1A, 1
Class 3A, 3
Class 2A, 6
Class 4A, 8
Pub Date: 3/06/99