The Digital Harbor boys basketball team came to the 13th annual Basketball Academy yesterday with a game plan against Woodlawn that would make the Ravens proud: wreak havoc on defense and play efficiently on offense.
The No. 5 Rams hassled the No. 10 Warriors into 31 turnovers and Justin Jackson, Davon Usher and George Jackson provided most of the offense in a sturdy 55-45 win at Morgan State.
Digital Harbor, which was coming off a win over Owings Mills in the tournament opener Thursday, improved to 9-3. Woodlawn fell to 7-6.
The Rams took a 18-13 lead into the third quarter and maintained a two-possession lead or better throughout the period before pulling away in the fourth.
Leading 34-30 at the start of the fourth, Digital Harbor went on an 11-4 run to put the game away, with Justin Jackson (a game-high 17 points) and Usher (16 points) accounting for all but one of the team's 21 points in the quarter. George Jackson took care of the basketball and finished with 10 points.
Digital Harbor coach Johnnie Grimes, pleased with his team's patience and composure at both ends, used a 1-2-2 zone defense that limited the Warriors to 45 percent shooting. On offense, he knew the Rams were in good hands with the Jackson brothers and Usher.
"Justin Jackson just came off an [ankle] injury, so I knew he was real eager to play. Davon Usher, he does everything - rebound, push the ball. At 6-5, he's got a lot of advantages. And George is our floor leader. So we always try to balance out the scoring, and that makes the game easier," Grimes said.
Nine players scored for Woodlawn, with Tevin Mackey and Terard Ansar leading the way with nine points each.