Decatur Boys Earn Top Seed in States
BERLIN- After a whirlwind five games in six days spanning late last week and early this week, Stephen Decatur's boys' varsity basketball team has a few days to collect its breath before starting the post season as the top seed in the state Class 3A-East Region tournament.
Thanks to a bevy of make-up games coupled with regularly scheduled contests, the Seahawks played five games in six days starting last Thursday with a blowout 85-43 win over Crisfield. Last Friday, the Seahawks beat Queen Anne's, 80-51, as Cedrick Johnson scored 26 points. Decatur was back at it with a rare Saturday game and beat Kent Island, 69-54, as Tre Foreman scored 15, Johnson scored 14 and Mark Engle added 13.
After a brief rest on Sunday, Decatur hit the court on Monday afternoon for a home game against Mardela, falling to the Warriors, 68-67, in overtime in one of the best games of the season. On Tuesday, the Seahawks rebounded from the dramatic overtime loss the day before, beating Wicomico, 83-58, as Johnson went off for 34 points and Tom Lubeski added 16 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.
When the dust settled, Decatur had won four of the five games in played during the six-day stretch, but the one the Seahawks would like to have back was the overtime loss to Mardela on Monday. Decatur jumped out to an early 8-2 lead, but Mardela rallied to tie the game at 14-14 at the end of the first quarter in what would become a pattern for the afternoon.
In the second quarter, Mardela led briefly, 19-18, with 5:06 remaining before Decatur went on a 7-0 run punctuated by a resounding dunk by Foreman with 3:25 remaining in the half. However, Mardela again hung around, cutting the Decatur lead to 27-25 with 1:40 left in the half. Decatur's Montre Andrews scored with less than a minute left to extend the lead to 29-25, but there was an ominous sense the Seahawks wasted several opportunities to put the Warriors away.
In the third, Decatur quickly extended its lead to 30-25 before a barrage of three pointers less than a minute apart from the same spot on the floor gave the Warriors the lead at 34-30. Decatur once again retook the lead at 37-34 after a pair of Lubeski free throws, but Mardela battled back to take a 42-41 lead at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Decatur went on a 7-0 run to start the period and it appeared the Seahawks were starting to wear down the smaller Warriors, but Mardela would not quit. The Warriors converted a three-point play at the 4:17 mark to cut the lead to 53-49. Mardela forced a turnover and converted the fast-break lay-up to take the lead, 54-53, with 2:35 remaining in the game. On its next possession, Mardela made a lay-up to extend its lead to 56-53 with 1:16 left in the contest. The Warriors had a chance to put the game away with a pair of free throws with under a minute left, but missed both, leaving the door open a crack for the Seahawks.
Trailing by three with under a minute left, the Seahawks had no choice but to foul the Warriors down the stretch, and poor free throw shooting nearly cost Mardela the game. Decatur scored with 40 seconds left to cut the lead to 60-58. Mardela then missed two free throws The teams swapped made free throws with under a minute left in regulation before Decatur tied the game at 61-61 with 14 second left.
The two teams went back and forth in the overtime period with neither getting any real separation on the scoreboard. Decatur's Johnson hit a mid-range jumper with 47 second left to put the Seahawks up 67-65, but Mardela wasn't finished. After a Mardela free throw cut the lead to one, the Warriors Cody Jacoby scored the go-ahead basket on a perfect inbounds play to put Mardela ahead, 68-67 with 10 seconds left. Decatur got a couple of looks in the paint in an effort to win the game, but the last shot bounced around the rim several times before falling out, giving Mardela a dramatic 68-67 win.
In the midst of the five games in six days stretch, the Seahawks learned they would be the top seed in the Class 3A-East region tournament. The Seahawks earned a first-round bye and will face the winner of the game between Howard and Northeast early next week.