UPPER MARLBORO - New Town High boys basketball coach Derek Wise figured his team would be nervous going into Tuesday’s Class 2A state semifinals. It took the Titans 4 minutes and 30 seconds before making their first field goal against Wicomico.
Fourth-ranked New Town settled in and continue its championship charge with a 47-41 victory over Wicomico at Henry A. Wise in Prince George’s County.
Cam Sparrow and Arrington Greenfield both led the Titans (24-3 overall) with 11 points. Cam Kirkland chipped in seven. Wicomico’s Malique Leatherbury led all scorers with 16.
The Baltimore County squad managed the early jitters, building a double-digit advantage to advance to the final round at the University of Maryland. New Town will play Prince George’s County’s Largo, Thursday evening at 6 at Xfinity Center for the state title.
It will be the Titans’ first state final since 2016 when they claimed the 2A crown. The Titans made the 2A state round of four in 2020, but the final three days of the state postseason was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tuesday was an entirely new experience for the New Town players.
“Some nerves set in early in the game,” said Wise, who was an assistant under now-retired Mike Daniel on the Titans’ 2016 and 2015 state title squads.”We weren’t playing like ourselves.”
The Baltimore County champs trailed 7-2 early before gaining their lead with a 6-0 run, featuring their first field goal by Sparrow. Jaden Brown hit a deep 3-pointer to give the Titans a 15-13 lead in the second quarter.
They never trailed again, advancing the lead to 25-19 at halftime. New Town’s defense which had sparked its postseason run also settled in.
“We knew certain shots didn’t fall,” Sparrow said. “We just have to hustle down on defense and tighten up.
“I told the guys let our defense get us going,” Wise said. “The offense will come.”
Despite not shooting well, New Town was able to ballooned its advantage to 46-35 in the fourth quarter. The Titans have been elite defensively, allowing an average of 39 points over the last five games.
New Town will need one final defensive gem against Largo, which outlasted Frederick County’s Walkersville, 64-62, in the second semifinal Tuesday at Wise. The Lions, who featured one of the nation’s top sophomores in 6-foot-6 Cam Ward, defeated New Town’s league rival Overlea in the state quarterfinals Saturday.
“It’s going to be tough, because the emotions are going to be high,” Wise said. “The pressure of playing for a state championship is going to be high. We’re going to have to settle in defensively.”
CLASS 2A STATE SEMIFINAL
at Henry A. Wise
NO. 4 NEW TOWN 47, WICOMICO 41
New Town- Jameel Sulieman 2, Arrington Greenfield 11, Jamal Price 6, Cam Kirkland 7, Cam Sparrow 11, Jaden Brown 5 Jaleel Hawkins 1, Darrien Fowlkes 4. Totals 20 6-14 47.
Wicomico- Jaylin Dashell-Andrews 2, Antwan Wilson 15, Malique Leatherbury 16, Kurt Thomas 1, Jaydan Handy 7. Totals 17 6-11 41.
New Town 10 15 11 11 — 47
Wicomico 11 8 9 13 — 41