Harford men hold off Lakers in state quarterfinals

Harford men hold off Lakers in state quarterfinals

HAGERSTOWN, Md. –Third-seeded Harford Community College used a 7-0 run late in the second half to take the lead for good while holding off sixth-seeded Garrett College, 65-59, Friday afternoon in a men's basketball state tournament quarterfinal.

Kenneth Sumpter scored a team-high 12 points, including the layup that broke a 49-49 tie and put the Fighting Owls ahead to stay. Khalil Williams-Diggins (4 steals) and Kevin Perry each added 10 points as part of a balanced offensive attack in the low-scoring contest. 

"Honestly, we just didn't play well enough to win," said GC head coach Dennis Gibson, whose team used a 9-0 spurt to erase a 49-40 deficit and create the game's final tie.  "We made a run to tie it late, but then we had a turnover and a missed shot and they put a run together.  You have to give them credit for that."

Harford (16-11) fell to Frederick Community College, 91-68, in a Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference semifinal on Saturday.

Garrett (16-9) overcame an early 6-0 deficit in a first half that eventually featured eight lead changes.  Zakeem Davis (14 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists) created the first half's final tie with a 3-pointer that evened the score at 21, but Harford responded with a 7-0 spurt that included two Williams-Diggins layups to help the Fighting Owls take a 32-27 lead into the half.

Marin Lisica drew GC even, 36-36, on a layup with 14:46 to go in the game.  Harford appeared to break things open with an 8-0 run that featured 6 points from Sumpter – including an emphatic dunk – but the Lakers had one more rally left.

Trailing 49-40, Garrett reeled off 9 straight points to draw even.  Devin Wilkerson (game-high 20 points, 12 rebounds) had a pair of baskets during the run, which Strahinja Ivic capped with a game-tying 3-pointer with 7:42 remaining.

Seconds later, Sumpter answered with his go-ahead layup to start Harford's game-turning run.  Jaedon Willis then hit a layup and one free throw before a Devin Smith layup finished the run with 6:11 remaining.

Garrett pulled within 56-53 on a Davis dunk with 5:17 remaining, but two Willis free throws and an Isaiah Boggs (9 points) layup off a steal pushed the lead back to 7 points.  The Lakers never got closer than 5 points the rest of the way.

Notes: Baltimore City Community College (22-7) won the men's state tournament with a 77-74 victory over Frederick Community College (18-9) in Sunday's title game.  On the women's side, Harford Community College (29-1) defeated Baltimore City Community College, 91-55, for its fifth straight state crown.

The Laker men are scheduled to host Community College of Beaver County Wednesday at 7 p.m.  The Laker women are scheduled to play Beaver County in the 5 p.m. opener.