BERLIN — After one of the most memorable days of high school basketball in Worcester in recent memory, or perhaps ever, three county varsity basketball teams are heading to the state’s Final Four in their respective classes.
On Saturday, the Stephen Decatur boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball teams played a double-header with regional championships on the line. About 20 minutes away, the same scenario was unfolding at Pocomoke where the Warrior’s boys’ and girls’ varsity teams were setting up for a pair of regional championship games. After the two marathons played in front of packed, standing-room-only houses, were over, the Decatur boys and both Pocomoke teams were preparing to head across the bridge for state championship Final Four games this week.
The Decatur girls faced Glenelg in the opener at 5:30 p.m. and around 4 p.m., hundreds started lining up to get into the gym an hour and a half before tip-off. The line wound around the tennis courts and back toward the football stadium as Seahawk fans braced against the early March cold for a chance to see their teams. More than a few were turned away as the gym reached capacity, but many waited and were able to get in when others left, although not many were heading for the exits early.
In the opener, the Decatur girls lost a heartbreaker, falling to Glenelg, 45-44, in the final minute after leading for much of the contest. The Seahawks led 27-25 at the half and took a 38-35 lead into the fourth quarter. Decatur was ahead, 44-42 with under a minute left when Glenelg banked home a three-pointer to take a 45-44 lead. Decatur’s all-time leading scorer Dayona Godwin drove to the basket, but had the ball knocked away. Rachel Florek got a shot with around six seconds left, but it wouldn’t drop. Savannah Schultz tried a jumper with the clock running down, but the ball bounced off the front of the rim. Finally, Amaya Mumford grabbed the rebound and got a good look at a put-back, but it too missed the mark as the clock expired on the regional championship game and the remarkable season for the Seahawks.
In the late game, the Decatur faithful had plenty to cheer about. The Decatur boys scrapped with Centennial for much of the contest and led only by two at the intermission as the big crowd held its collective breath. The Seahawks blew it open with a big third quarter, however, culminated by an fast-break alley oop dunk by Keyon Eley, which seemed to break the Eagles’ spirit.
The Seahawks pulled away in the fourth for the 65-47 win, touching off a wild celebration as the fans rushed the court and swarmed their team. After a trophy presentation, the Seahawks and their coaches cut down the nets as cameras flashed. With the 3A region championship in the bag, the Seahawks will travel to the Xfinity Center at the University of Maryland on Thursday for the Final Four. They will face 3A-West champion Seneca Valley on Thursday at 5 p.m. If they succeed, the Seahawks will play in the state championship at College Park on Saturday.
Meanwhile, down at Pocomoke, the Warriors’ girls’ team blew out Cambridge-South Dorchester, 62-32, to win the 1A-East region title. The Warriors will head to the SECU Arena at Towson University on Friday for a Final Four game against 1A-West champion Southern.
In the nightcap, the Pocomoke boys routed Kent County, 80-62, to win the 1A-East title. The Warriors will face 1A-West champion Clear Spring on Friday at the Xfinity Center in College Park in a Final Four game with a potential state championship on the line.