HAGERSTOWN — First the ladder, then the scissors and then one by one, South Hagerstown players took turn clipping the net as a personal momento of their achievement on Friday.
South Hagerstown withstood a solid challenge from Quince Orchard for a 54-48 victory to win the Maryland 3A West Region championship.
Now the Rebels (21-3) can enjoy their laurels for a bit before refocusing for the next task: The state semifinals on Thursday at 5 p.m. against Centennial at the University of Maryland’s Comcast Center. Centennial (17-8) defeated Atholton, 54-51.
Sophomore Devon King was among the many beaming while clutching his piece of the net after scoring a game-high 20 points.
“I’ve never been to Comcast Center, not even to see a game,” said King.
For King, and the rest of the Rebels’ contingent, it will be like going to Disney World.
Even though it was locked in a 16-16 tie after the first period, South did not appear at the top of its game. It became more evident in the second quarter, when the Rebels managed just four points to trail 25-20 at the half. It carried over into the second half when Quince Orchard owned a 32-27 lead with 3:05 left in the third quarter.
“We started to find some seams and got open,” said King. “We forced shots in the first half.”
The Rebels hit 14-of-24 shots from the floor in the second half, mainly because they rebounded much better, got in transition and handled the ball.
Deadlocked 38-38, South went on a run that would eventually decide the game.
Rico Provitt and King each scored and Charlie Herring hit two free throws after hauling down a rebound for a 44-38 lead. After a Quince Orchard turnover, King delivered an assist to Andre Pierre, who converted for a conventional three-point play and a 47-38 lead with 3:53 to go.
After King gave the Rebels a 49-44 lead with 1:45 left, Quince Orchard came back to make it 49-48 with 1:15 remaining.
Provitt hit a short jumper, Pierre scored in transition off a missed shot and the Rebels began to celebrate.
“We never had the mindset that we would lose,” said Pierre. “We were a different team in the second half. And we weren’t going to blow a lead.”
Coach Kevin Naylor said Wednesday’s victory over John F. Kennedy helped prepare the Rebels.
“(Kennedy) was a little bigger and quicker than Quince Orchard,” said Naylor. “We got beat on the glass in the first half and that was a strong point of ours that we were turning into a weakness.”
The Rebels eventually came back and outrebounded the Cougars 27-22 with King pulling down nine boards.
With his rebounding and overall performance, Naylor was stumping for his sophomore.
“I absolutely think, especially how he has performed in crunch time, think King is the best player in Washington County,” said Naylor.
Pierre added 11 points and six rebounds and Provitt had nine points.
South Hagerstown 54, Quince Orchard 48
QUINCE ORCHARD (18-7)
Miller 3-13 4-5 11, Mennie 0-1 0-0 0, Kelly 5-10 4-4 15, J. Fierstein 1-3 0-0 2, B. Fierstein 0-0 1-2 1, Gaines 2-4 2-4 6, Headley 1-4 0-2 3, Portney 3-4 2-2 8, Porter 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 16-41 13-19 48.
SOUTH HAGERSTOWN (21-3)
Davis 2-4 0-0 5, Pierre 3-10 5-6 11, King 9-18 2-3 20, Provitt 4-8 0-1 9, Herring 2-4 3-4 7, Prather 1-1 0-0 2, Hess 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-45 10-14 54.
Q. Orchard 16 9 13 12 — 48
S. Hagerstown 16 4 18 16 — 54
3-point goals—Quince Orchard 3 (Miller, Kelly, Headley), South 2 (Davis, Provitt). Rebounds—Quince Orchard 22 (Gaines 5), South 27 (King 9). Turnovers—Quince Orchard 17, South 15. Fouled out—Gaines.