No. 9 Perry Hall boys rout Gaithersburg, 85-62, are on verge of second straight state title
By Jeff Seidel
For The Baltimore Sun|
Mar 08, 2018 | 9:35 PM
No. 9 Perry Hall put on a show Thursday night while moving one step closer to a second straight Class 4A boys basketball state championship.
The Gators overwhelmed Gaithersburg in the state semifinal at the Xfinity Center. Perry Hall presented a combination of size, speed, athleticism that gave the Trojans a puzzle they couldn’t solve as the Gators rolled to an 85-62 victory.
Perry Hall (20-6) will play Saturday at 8 p.m. against Bladensburg.
The Gators have won three straight Class 4A North Region championships and are just one win away from that second consecutive state title. Perry Hall beat Quince Orchard last year for the school’s first state title.
For Gaithersburg (20-6), this was the school’s first trip to the state final four in 20 years. This trip wasn’t fun for the Trojans, though, as Perry Hall simply had too much size, speed and quickness.
“Obviously, our size overwhelmed them,” Gators coach George Panageotou said. “We had to take care of business. [Now], we want one more really bad.”
Perry Hall was led by Laquill Hardnett (6 feet 9 senior), Anthony Walker (6-8 junior), Anthony Higgs (6-8 senior) and Tyler Holley (6-4 senior).
Hardnett did a little bit of everything with nine points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. Walker had 15 points and six rebounds, while Higgs added 15 points, seven rebounds and four blocks. Holley finished with 17 points and five rebounds.
“The first quarter was really feeling them out,” Holley said. “The second quarter, we started stepping things up [on defense].”
What made things tougher for the Trojans were the times Perry Hall ramped up the defensive pressure. Perry Hall would double-team the ball or pressure it and the Gators' quickness threw the smaller Trojans off, helping create some of the team’s 14 turnovers.
The second half was more of the same. Gaithersburg found good shots but couldn’t make them while Perry Hall seemed to alternate between shots from far away or thunderous dunks while pulling away.
Jao Ituka led Gaithersburg with 18 points but the Trojans shot just 38 percent from the field and couldn’t keep up with the bigger, faster and stronger Gators, a team just one step away from a second straight state title.