COLLEGE PARK -The Digital Harbor boys basketball team made an early, bold statement yesterday at Comcast Center. It came out loud and clear: The No. 6 Rams look like the class of Class 1A this season.
In yesterday's semifinal against Allegany, the Rams made quick work of the Campers with superior athleticism, relentless defense and balanced scoring, coming away with a 66-45 semifinal win that puts them one victory away from the school's first state championship.
Digital Harbor (22-5) will return to Comcast at 1 p.m. today to take on Pocomoke - a 56-54 winner over South Carroll in the other semifinal - in a bid to win the school's first state title.
"It's basically a dream come true," said junior forward Davon Usher, who finished with nine points.
"We came a long way this season. We just worked so hard, I think we deserve it. We just got to continue to play hard and play together, and we'll hope to come away with one more victory."
Led by the guard tandem of brothers George and Justin Jackson, the Rams were simply too quick and talented for Allegany (22-4) to stay close.
Digital Harbor led 15-7 going into the second quarter, then went on a 19-3 run to lead 34-10.
George Jackson finished with 16 points and nine assists, and Justin added 15 points in the win.
Darius Johnson also reached double figures with 10 points and added seven rebounds.
Pocomoke 56, South Carroll 54: : The Cavaliers stayed close against the athletic Warriors from Worcester County but couldn't get over the hump in a valiant fourth-quarter comeback bid.
Trailing 47-39 going into the fourth, South Carroll started a 10-4 run with a three-point play from senior forward Tom Collup (14 points) on the opening possession, eventually cutting the lead to 51-49. The Cavaliers twice watched shots not fall in a bid to take the lead and then saw a last-second desperation shot from freshman guard Dan Mullen miss.
"We never feel like we're out of a game because we know we have the talent to get back in games," Collup said. "So we just started getting steals, trying to play good defense, rebound and make some shots."
Joining Collup for the team lead with 14 points was sophomore guard Ryan McTavish, who also grabbed 10 rebounds. Pocomoke (24-2), which will go for its fourth state title today against Digital Harbor, got 15 points from senior guard Michael Blake. Senior forward Sebastian Sturgis scored five of his 14 points in important fourth-quarter minutes to help the Warriors keep their lead.
South Carroll (16-7) was making its fourth state tournament appearance and first since 2002.
"I'm disappointed at how the game ended, but I'm looking at the big picture and I'm really proud of these guys," South Carroll third-year coach Doug Goff said. "I'm going to think nothing but positive things about these guys. They put in a lot of hard work, and we've come a long way from a couple years ago when I took over. And to be here is a great experience."