Balanced Attack Propels Hood to Pride of Maryland Title Game

J'Air Brady
J'Air Brady

TOWSON, Md.--The Hood College men's basketball team (2-0) used a balanced scoring attack and staved off another late rally by the opposition in a 65-62 triumph over the Johns Hopkins University Blue Jays (1-1) Saturday at Goucher College to advance to the title game of the Pride of Maryland Tournament presented by M&T Bank.

Hood will battle Capital Athletic Conference foe and defending Pride of Maryland Tournament champ St. Mary's College (Md.) Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at Goucher College's Decker Sports and Recreation Center.

The title game will also be televised live throughout the state of Maryland by Baltimore-based television station WBAL. Sunday's championship will be available on WBAL Plus which is available on digital 11-2, Comcast 208 and Verizon Fios 460.

The contest will be produced by Jomar Productions in Parkton under the direction of Mark Gambo. Steve Stofberg and Bryan McLean will be providing the play-by-play and color commentary.

The Blazers made a statement early on, scoring the first 10 points of the ballgame over the first 5:08. Hood led by as many as 11 in the first half but the Blue Jays crept back into it and closed to within one, 19-18, on a trey by Danny Gergen at the 9:13 mark.

Hood responded with a 6-0 run on a pair of buckets by Byron Morgan and a J'Air Brady jumper to push the lead back to seven. But Hopkins made another charge late in the half and took its first lead of the night in the final nine seconds of the stanza on a Mike Henrici layup. The Blue Jays led 33-31 at the break.

Hopkins maintained the upperhand for the first 12:34 of the second half but was unable to stretch its lead beyond four points. Hood's Tory Wilson snapped a 49-49 tie by converting 1-of-2 from the line and gave the Blazers a lead they would not surrender.

Hood showed its resolve down the stretch once again despite a valiant effort by the Blue Jays. A Tyler Snoots layup gave Hood a 63-57 lead with 54 seconds remaining but JHU's Tim McCarty hit a layup and a three-pointer on the Blue Jays' next two possessions to make it a two-point game (64-62) with 18 seconds to go in regulation.

After a Hopkins timeout, Gergen fouled Hood's Reco Siler, who went to the line for his first free throw attempts of the game. Siler hit the first but missed the second and the Blue Jays came down with the rebound. But Pat O'Connell's desperation heave from long range at the buzzer was off the mark and the Blazers escaped with the hard-fought victory.

Wilson keyed the Blazer offense with 13 points while Justin Stone tallied 12 points and ripped down seven rebounds. Starters Brenden Straughn and Brady contributed nine points apiece and Snoots and Morgan added eight and seven points, respectively, off the bench.

Hood shot 52.2 percent from the field on the night and made 14-of-19 from the foul line in the second half to secure a spot in the championship game for the second time in the last three years.