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Morris carries TJ into 3A final

March 14, 1997

By SHELDON SHEALER

Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Terence Morris clutched his jersey, then pulled it over his face.

When he finally let go, the jersey fell, revealing a wide grin.

It was a subtle yet rare display of the emotion bottled up inside the 6-foot-8 senior.

Morris had reason to smile after Thomas Johnson's 59-53 boys' basketball victory over Randallstown in the Class 3A state semifinals Thursday at Cole Field House on the University of Maryland campus.

"I was playing like it was my last game and I didn't want it to end," Morris said after scoring 28 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and blocking 10 shots, leading the Patriots to the state finals for the eighth time since 1975.

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"He's so laid back, when he shows emotion, it gets everyone going ... especially in the big games," said Thomas Johnson coach Tom Dickman. "He's a competitor. He hates to lose."

Thomas Johnson (21-5) faces four-time defending state champion Dunbar Saturday at 3 p.m. for the title. Dunbar joined the state association in the 1992-93 school year and has never been defeated in the basketball playoffs.

Morris made a short jumper to ignite a 12-4 second-quarter surge, putting the Patriots ahead 28-22 at halftime. He scored eight points during the run.

It appeared Thomas Johnson was ready to bury Randallstown early in the third quarter when Chad Dickman's 3-pointer gave the Patriots a 37-28 lead. However, the Rams (21-5) scored on their next possession and never allowed Thomas Johnson's lead to exceed seven points the rest of the way.

Demon Brown made both ends of a one-and-one foul shooting opportunity, pulling Randallstown within 53-51 with 2:27 left in the game. The Rams regained possession with the two-point deficit, but three players missed shots before Thomas Johnson came away with the ball.

Hasheem Alexander made a pair of foul shots for a 55-51 lead with 48.9 seconds left. After a basket by Tony Darden pulled the Rams within 55-53, Eric Wyatt and Alexander combined to make four of six foul shots in the final 25 seconds to seal the outcome.

The key play came with 25 seconds left when Wyatt missed a foul shot, and Morris tipped the ball out to Chad Dickman. The Patriots ran off 11 seconds before getting fouled, and Wyatt's ensuing free throws opened a 58-53 lead.

Alexander finished with 14 points - aided by 9 of 11 foul shooting - and six assists.

Brown led Randallstown with 24 points.

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