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Posted On: 03/12/17 9:54 AM
(Feature Photo Credit: Kyle McFadden)
All four of the Maryland State Finals games lived up to every bit of the anticipation. Poly and Perry Hall were crowned state champions for their respective classes for the first time in school history, Patterson escaped a pesky Century team by six in a game that went down to the wire, and Fairmont Heights hoisted their first state title since 1981.
There were a plethora of big time performances on the biggest stage. Let’s take a look at who was the best of the best.
Dre Perry | Poly | 2017
Perry had arguably the most dominant showing in state history. In the semifinals and finals, he averaged 28 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. The Temple University commit willed the Engineers to their first state title in school history. His impact on both ends was undeniable. In the state final, Perry finished with 23 points, 16 rebounds, three blocks, three assists, and shot 3-of-6 from the three-point line.
(Photo Credit: Adam Ayalew)
Laquill Hardnett | Perry Hall | 2018
Hardnett has been the motor for the No. 1 ranked team in Baltimore for the entire season. It was no different in the semifinals and finals as he led his Gators to their school’s first state title. In the two games, he averaged 12 points and 16.5 rebounds. The 6’8″ point forward stepped up when the team needed him most by converting four monumental free-throws in overtime to help Perry Hall seal the win.
Matt Kelly | Quince Orchard | 2017
Kelly was nothing short of sensational in the 4A Final against Perry Hall. His team may have come up short (59-56), but Kelly did everything humanly possible to keep the Cougars in the game. At 5’9″ and going against Perry Hall’s multiple 6’8″ big men, Kelly scored four of his game-high 22 points in overtime by attacking the rim. He also hit four three’s. No one compared to Kelly in terms of having complete control of a game and help setting the tone for his team.
Gerard Mungo | Patterson | 2019
Patterson went up against a very disciplined Century team that focused on taking sophomore sensation Marvin Price out of the game for the Clippers. As a result, Mungo stepped up at the most important time and scored 19 points to help pace Patterson to the 2A title. He was relentlessly attacking the basket and visited the free-throw line 11 times, converting seven of them. Mungo was also the energizer for the Clippers as Century made multiple runs throughout the game.
Kimani Benjamin | Fairmont Heights | 2017
One day after scoring a game-high 27 points in the Class 1A semifinals, Benjamin scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds to help the Hornets to their first state title since 1981. Benjamin came up huge in the fourth quarter attacking the offensive glass. He finished with five offensive rebounds in the game.
Torrin Stephens | Poly | 2017
Poly is loaded with size and talent. They have six players who are listed as 6’5″ and above. Stephens stands 6’3″ and was one of the best rebounders of the floor. He finished the game with seven in total, but led the Engineers with four offensive rebounds and a couple of key put-backs. Stephens finished the game with 16 points, seven rebounds, and four blocks (two coming in the fourth quarter).
James Rider | Perry Hall | 2017
Rider refused to finish his high school career without a state championship. He shot a perfect 8-for-8 from the field on a combination of drives to the basket and mid-range jumpers. Rider continuously caught Quince Orchard’s zone off guard in the corners as he would sweep through baseline and finish at the rim.
Ryle Burley | Potomac | 2017
Burley had the job of matching up against Perry for Poly in the 3A State Final. At 6’4″ he had a slight height disadvantage, but he wouldn’t allow that to disrupt him from putting up 16 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Potomac’s Travis Henson was having trouble finding his shot from deep, so Burley took on the scoring load in the paint.
Zach Tucker | Century | 2017
Tucker didn’t shoot from the field as well as he has all season for the Knights, but he still managed to finish with 16 points by attacking the basket and drawing fouls. He finished shooting 8-of-9 from the charity stripe. The Knight came up short, but Tucker was undoubtedly the leader on the floor for more than one reason.
Demetrius Mims | Poly | 2018
The trio of Mims, Perry, and Stephen combined for 53 of Poly’s 64 points. Mims finished with 14 points. He got started early and helped the Engineers build a 13-point lead heading into the locker room at halftime. The 6’5″ junior showed plenty of versatility in his scoring from all three levels of the floor.