Largo High School coach Lewis Howard has been to the University of Maryland Comcast Center for the state finals before—he was Largo’s head coach in 2008 when the school claimed the Maryland 2A State championship, so Howard was quite familiar with semifinals play entering the Lions’ March 7 clash with Easton High School.
Although his team had never sniffed a finals appearance, their lack of experience didn’t matter. Howard’s Largo Lions (Largo, Md) stormed out to an 11-0 start before brushing off the Easton Warriors (Easton, Md), 61-44, in front of thousands at the University of Maryland.
The Lions advanced to the Maryland 2A State Final, scheduled for March 10 at 6 p.m.
“They’re a very talented team,” Howard said of Easton. “But we just focused on our team pretty much all week. If we take care of our business then we’re going to be successful.”
Easton’s defense focused on Largo star point guard Derrick Colter, but the 5-foot, 11-inch floor general simply played bigger than his size. Colter nailed four three-pointers in the opening quarter to spark Largo’s double-digit takeoff. After his third three-point shot sliced through the bottom of the net, the guard put his hands to the side, balled up his fists and stared down the Largo crowd as the audience roared in amazement. “He’s Derrick Colter,” said teammate Michael Graham. “What more needs to be said?”
Largo (22-4) led 50-35 late in the third quarter as the Warriors (20-5) attempted to mount a comeback. Easton forced a steal which prompted their crowd to cheer on senior forward Justin Anderson as he rumbled down court, but his dunk attempt circled out of the rim, sending the Easton faithful into disarray.
The Warriors salvaged the possession on a converted jump shot, but true to the night, Largo was ready to silence any Warriors run. With less than four seconds left in the quarter, Colter took the inbound pass and flung a last second toss just above the half court line. Colter’s shot glided through the net, sending the Largo section into complete chaos.
“He hit the shot,” Howard said. “For him to make that play, it’s exciting but it’s not anything immeasurable because he’s always done so many great things in our program.”
Largo will take on the winner of Lake Clifton (Baltimore, Md) vs. South Carroll (Sykesville, Md).