COLLEGE PARK — De’Vondre Perry sat back on the red padded chair in the northwest corner Xfinity Center, pumping his fist in the air while a team trainer plopped bags of ice on his knees. Demetrius Mims kept the onslaught that Perry upstarted ablaze with a 3-pointer in the right corner to balloon No. 10 Baltimore Poly’s lead to 31 midway through the fourth quarter against one-loss No. 2 Stephen Decatur.
Perry’s day was done, and received the well-deserved call to the bench after delivering the most resounding performance of his high school basketball career. The Temple commit exploded for 33 points on six 3’s, nine rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals to hammer Decatur 77-44 in the Class 3A state semifinals on Thursday afternoon. Poly will play Potomac in the title game at 3:00 p.m.
“I’ve been told over and over again I don’t perform well on big stages and I won’t be ready for the big stage,” Perry said. “Just knowing I had a chip on my shoulder tonight proved everyone wrong.”
Jitters ruled the opening three minutes, and halfway through the first quarter it was locked at 4-4 with both teams combining for seven turnovers and a 4-for-14 start from the floor.
Perry triggered a 13-2 run that spanned into the second quarter with a pull-up 3 from the top of the key. Moments later, he threw down a fastbreak slam and hit another 3 on the right wing to give Poly (20-7) a 17-6 lead.
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Decatur’s Keve Aluma (19 points and 11 rebounds) scored the first four points of the second quarter to bring the Seahawks within striking distance, 17-10, but the Engineers responded with a 13-3 lead that featured a 3, fastbreak dunk and long jumper from Perry to pad their lead to 30-13.
After another trey from Perry and buzzer-beating triple from Seth Jones, Poly carried a 36-15 lead into halftime.
“These guys are great, just love their energy,” Poly coach Sam Brand said. “Our team chemistry is off the charts .”
Poly then opened up the third quarter on a 9-0 run fueled by a Perry three-point play and 3-ball to swell the lead to 44-15.
“He picked it up for us,” Mims (eight points, eight rebounds and four blocks) said of Perry’s play. “We followed his lead coming out. … He carried us tonight.”
Decatur brought it to 50-30 on a 7-1 run with a Aluma putback and layup in the closing minutes of the third quarter, but that’s closest they got down the stretch as Mims splashed a triple to make it 53-30 and minutes later, Perry connected on his sixth and final 3 to balloon it to 57-31.
Poly led by as many as 38 and shot 44 percent (26-for-55) while suffocating Decatur to 30 percent (16-for-53).
“We knew that, not only were they 26-1, but only played in maybe two or three close games all year,” Brand said. “We would like to be 26-1. But when we set up our schedule, it wasn’t a desired record going into the state playoffs. We try to play the best teams we can.
“While we have a lot of respect for them, we had equal and even more respect for our preparation and the battles that we gone through to together to get here. Did I think that the score was going to be that way? No. Did I know it was a possibility? Yes. We know how good we are.”
Poly scored 27 of their 77 points off turnovers. Cleveland Horton added nine for Poly. Keyvon Voyles pitched in with eight points and six rebounds.
“We’re all looking forward to Saturday,” Perry said. “This is what we prepared for.”
A full gallery will be available in the upcoming days.