Douglass teams up to take lead in city race

The Baltimore Sun

Omar Strong can fill a highlight reel, but give him some help, as he got from fellow seniors Brandon Simms and Justin Berry last night, and Douglass is a team to be reckoned with.

No. 12 Digital Harbor found that out in a visit to Douglass, where the Ducks won, 77-65, to take over sole possession of first place in Division II of the Baltimore City League. In avenging an 85-60 loss to Digital Harbor in the Function at the Junction tournament last month, the Ducks improved to 11-4 overall and 5-0 in the league.

"We think in our minds that we're a championship team, so we play like winners," Simms said.

The Rams (9-5, 6-1) need a Ducks loss to have a shot at playing in the Baltimore City championship game.

Strong, an All-Metro guard last year as a junior, tied the Rams' George Jackson for game-high honors last night with 27 points. He went 9-for-10 from the line in the final 38 seconds to seal the victory. The Ducks made 15 of 18 free throws in the fourth quarter and 29 of 36 overall.

Simms had 19 points (including three three-pointers) and six rebounds, while Justin Berry had 16 points and seven rebounds. The duo led the Ducks to a 56-48 lead after three quarters.

"Personally, those two, Brandon and Justin, take a whole lot of pressure off me," Strong said. "And I love it. It makes me feel good, and I don't have to do too much."

Ducks coach Rodney Cofield, who constantly preaches "team play," also loves it.

"We didn't play as a team last time, and we won for our coach as a team," Berry said.

Said Rams coach Johnnie Grimes: "We made some silly turnovers that really hurt us down the stretch. We've got to make our free throws, our layups and talk on defense.

"Douglass played good. They were ready for us."

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