Ducks roll into regional final

The Baltimore Sun

As Douglass boys basketball coach Rodney Coffield likes to say, "As Omar goes, we go."

And oh, did Omar Strong and the No. 6 and host Ducks go last night in a 65-51 romp over No. 7 City in the Class 2A North Regional semifinals.

Strong, an All-Metro guard last season as a junior, scored a game-high 27 points and had five defensive rebounds and five assists.

"I got into a groove in the first quarter," said Strong, who was coming off an area-season-high 50 points in a 92-56 rout of Samuel L. Banks in the quarterfinals Tuesday.

"Brandon Simms and Justin Berry didn't play that game for various reasons, so my coach told me I had to step up. So I stepped up and it turned out to be 50 points."

Fellow senior Berry added 17 points and six rebounds for the Ducks last night. Adam Johnson led City (20-4) with 18 points and nine rebounds.

Douglass (19-5) advances to its fourth consecutive regional final, the past three with Strong leading the way. The Ducks have lost to rival Randallstown all three times.

"We're excited about getting the chance to get back [to the state semifinals]," Coffield said. "That's the only goal we have, is to win a state championship.

"But that's everybody's goal."

The Ducks will play Randallstown tomorrow at 1 p.m. The winner advances to the state final four at Comcast Center.

"He's tough, and no question we give him the green light," Coffield said of Strong. "He's an exceptional player. We kind of put the ball in his hands and let him make a lot of decisions. And so far, it's been working out."

It worked out in the first half as Strong hit his three three-pointers for the game and scored 12 points as the Ducks took a 26-19 lead to the break.

Douglass pushed the lead to 47-34 by the end of the third period as Strong, Berry and Alexander Gardner combined for 15 of their 21 points.

A 15-8 run in the fourth period raised the Ducks' lead to 62-42 as Berry scored the last six points in a row.

pat.omalley@baltsun.com

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