(March 7, 2014) The stands in Stephen Decatur’s gym were packed Wednesday night for the 3A South Regional tournament Section I semifinal boys’ basketball game between the top-seeded Seahawks and the No. 4 Northern Patriots of Calvert County.
“We appreciate the support we have. Our kids, they get up for it, and I just thank everyone for coming out and supporting Stephen Decatur basketball,” said Decatur Coach Byron “BJ” Johnson after the contest in Berlin.
The Seahawks fed off the home crowd cheering them on. They led 16-6 at the end of the first quarter. Decatur went into the locker room at halftime with a 35-19 advantage.
The Seahawks came back into the gym a few minutes early so they shot around to stay warm. As Johnson made his way into the gym, he had a big smile on his face.
“We had a comfortable lead. The kids played a great first half and I just hope it carries over to [Thursday’s Section I finals],” he said.
Senior captain Tyler Hunter took the ball to the basket in the third quarter and was unstoppable. He scored 16 of the team’s 26 third-quarter points.
“I just felt like I had to have a better game than I had in the Bayside championship. I was pretty pleased with my performance, but I could have made a few more shots,” he said after Wednesday’s semifinals. Before the third quarter, Hunter said “I was just thinking ‘I’ve got to score.’ It’s win or go home.”
After three quarters, the Seahawks led 61-35.
Decatur won the game 79-50.
“We played as a team. That’s what we’ve been preaching all year, play as one and they played for each other,” Johnson said. “When we play like that, we’re very tough to beat.”
Hunter led Decatur with 28 points. He had seven rebounds and blocked three Northern shots.
“Tyler had a great game,” Johnson said. “Like he said, he bounced back from the Bayside game, where he didn’t have such a good game. We put that behind us and keep moving forward and he was the guy tonight.”
Junior Colen Gaynor added 15 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Randy DuPont, a junior, logged 11 points and senior PJ Copes tallied eight points and 10 assists.
The victory advanced Decatur (17-5) to the Section I finals, where they were scheduled to host the James M. Bennett Clippers yesterday, Thursday.
The teams went 1-1 during the regular season. Decatur won the first meeting on Jan. 14, 95-48. Bennett edged out Decatur 47-46 on Feb. 13.
The winner of Thursday’s game will face the top team in the 3A South Section II, either the No. 1 Westlake Wolverines or the No. 2 Thomas Stone Cougars today, Friday.