A brief shoving match late in the fourth quarter appeared to be the most visible resistance Gwynn Park’s Yellow Jackets put up in their 75-45 loss to the Digital Harbor Rams on March 11.

The Maryland State 2A semifinal game at the University of Maryland’s Comcast Center was over before it even had a chance to start for Gwynn Park, who trailed 29-18 at halftime before the Baltimore squad outscored them 46-27 in the second half.

Utilizing a distinct game plan to limit the Brandywine, Md. school’s leading scorer, senior guard Brandon Ford, Digital Harbor effectively removed Ford and second-leading scorer senior forward Tion Barnes after the latter picked up two early fouls.

“We knew exactly who was their scorer,” said Digital Harbor coach Johnnie Grimes. “ is the one that makes them go and we just needed to take him out the game and I think we did a good job at that.”

Ford (two points, 1-of-9 shooting) came into the game averaging 18 points per outing while Barnes (nine points, 3-of-10 shooting) arrived averaging 15. With their top two scorers seemingly ineffective, Gwynn Park had nowhere to turn as their deficit continued to rise with each Digital Harbor basket.

“Digital Harbor played great, they had an excellent game plan,” said Gwynn Park coach Mike Glick. “This game, we were thoroughly outplayed it’s tough to end the season on this note. The second half is where it got away from us.”

With Ford and Barnes struggling, Gwynn Park (17-9) shot a woeful 24 percent from the field, connecting on only 14-of-58 attempts. Digital Harbor used a series of zone defenses to throw Gwynn Park off their game and it worked to perfection.

“We’ve struggled shooting the basketball all year long,” Glick added. “It’s been our bugaboo, that’s why we lost five games in our league; we haven’t had consistent outside shooting. But credit goes to Digital Harbor, they had an outstanding game plan and the players really stepped up and they had a great game.”

A late altercation between Gwynn Park senior guard Daniel Henry and Digital Harbor senior guard Kevin Smith nearly led to blows as their teammates circled to the action, resulting in technical fouls for each.

Digital Harbor (15-7) advanced to play Easton High School in the Maryland 2A State final.

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO