Monday, March 12, 2007

Sherwood proves best in the county, and the state

After failed trips to the last two Class 4A state football finals, Sherwood finally has its state championship

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Laurie DeWitt⁄The Gazette
Members of the Sherwood boys basketball team celebrate their 61-38 win over crosstown rival Magruder in the Class 4A boys basketball state championship game Saturday at the Comcast Center, on the campus of the University of Maryland. The game was the first-ever state basketball final involving two teams from Montgomery County.
After failed trips to the last two Class 4A state football finals, Sherwood finally has its state championship. A bit surprisingly, it came in boys basketball.

In front of a large and raucous crowd Saturday night at the University of Maryland’s Comcast Center in College Park, the Warriors beat arch-rival Magruder for the Class 4A title, 61-38, in the first all-Montgomery County state basketball final in history.

“All year long, these guys would joke and laugh,“ Sherwood coach Dondrell Whitmore said. “But when it came down to serious business, they got it done. ... Deontay [Twyman] told me earlier in the day, ‘Coach, we got it.’ I’m just so happy for this team, and the football players especially, to get that monkey off our backs.“

The game itself didn’t quite live up to the scenario.

Just as it did in its semifinal win over Glen Burnie Thursday, Sherwood (23-4) took control early. While Magruder (20-6) turned the ball over on its first three possessions and 11 total times in the first half, the Warriors got eight quick points from Twyman and built a 27-14 lead

After the first two meetings of the season were decided by a total of three points, Magruder was never able to chip the lead below eight in the second half.

“I love my team, but I told them, I thought we overachieved all year,“ Magruder coach Dan Harwood said. “[Sherwood] came out in the first half and didn’t miss. We got off to a slow start and couldn’t turn the corner. But for us to get this far — this is probably the fifth- or sixth-best team I’ve had at Magruder, but because they played hard and played together, they got this far.“

The Warriors held Magruder’s leading scorer, Donald Robinson, completely in check. Robinson scored just six points, on 3-of-9 shooting. Junior Brian Henderson led the Colonels in scoring, with 13 points.

Twyman, meanwhile, was exemplary. He scored 26 points for the game, following up a 22-point effort in the semifinal and erasing bad memories from the past two football seasons.

“Truthfully, I was expecting this in football,“ Twyman said. “Getting there twice and not winning, that was the hardest thing. After being called a choke artist for so long, this was so unexpected, I’m just glad.“

While the Colonels were making their third state tournament appearance since 2001, the Warriors were making their first since 1999. Until this year, Magruder would have been considered the basketball school of the two, and Sherwood the football school.

Yet the Colonels won the teams’ meeting on the gridiron this fall, while Sherwood prevailed on the hardwood. The Warriors also won the Montgomery 4A East Division this winter, taking the title out of Magruder’s hands with a 44-42 win on the last day of the division season.

The championship was Sherwood’s second ever, the first coming in 1979. Magruder has won one state title, in 2001.

Notes: Earlier in the day, Bethesda-Chevy Chase failed in its attempt to win the Class 3A title, falling to River Hill of Howard County, 60-51. ... In other boys action at Comcast Center Saturday, New Town (Baltimore County) beat Dunbar (Baltimore City) in the Class 1A final, 74-69 in double overtime. Randallstown won Baltimore County’s second title of the day, 66-63 over Fairmont Heights (Prince George’s) in the 2A game.