April 24, 2018

2017 MSA public school boys’ basketball awards



F De’Vondre Perry, Poly / Sr.

Photo by Austin McFadden/MSA.

Coming a 2015-16 season that was cut short after a first-round bye, the Temple commit made sure to finish the job this time as a senior, charging Baltimore Polytechnic Institute to its first boys’ basketball state title in school history. Perry turned in a historic performance at the state tournament, averaging 28 points on 19-for-34 shooting (55.9 percent) and his nine 3-pointers made (9-for-16, 56.3 percent from deep) was one shy of the state record. He also racked up 12.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 3.0 blocks, 1.5 steals and made 9 of 11 free throws at Xfinity Center. Perry guided the Engineers to a 23-7 record, with staple wins against reigning DCSAA champions, H.D. Woodson, and St. Frances, 2015-16 MIAA A-conference champions. It’s also worth noting five of the seven losses came to programs with nationally ranked status. The forceful 6-foot-6 forward who played all five positions averaged a team-high 20.2 points and 10.4 rebounds, and served as a primary facilitator, dishing 4.2 assists a game. Perry wreaked havoc on the defensive end with a menacing wing-span and sharp instincts, tallying 2.4 steals and 3.1 blocks.


Harry Martin, Patterson

In his 11th season, Martin led a youthful Clippers squad to a 26-3 record and the school’s second boys’ basketball state title. With three sophomores as its leading scorers, Patterson captured the Baltimore City Division I title and mowed through the Class 2A playoffs, winning six games by an average of 32.5 points. The Clippers held opponents to fewer than 30 points 10 times and toppled two of the three state champions in the regular season (Perry Hall and Poly). Martin also picked up win No. 200 in the 68-49 semifinal win over Harford Tech.


G Kareem Matthew, Seneca Valley / Sr.

Photo by Reggie Hildred/MSA.

Matthew backboned one of the stingiest on-ball defenses in the state with unrelenting pressure and a hard-nose for the basketball. Consistently guarded and suppressed the opposition’s top scorer, helping result in a 24-2 record and a second straight 3A West region title at Seneca Valley. Compiled 49 steals in 26 games and also canned the game-winning jumper with 5.2 seconds to go in the 3A West Section I final against Oakdale.

Seneca Valley coach Brian Humphrey on Matthew:Most people will remember the shot he made to put us up by one vs. Oakdale in the Section Championship in this year’s playoffs. And well, they should; it was awesome. But what really epitomizes Kareem is what he did on the very next play. Oakdale ran a play for their best player, and of course we had Kareem guarding him. Kareem played perfect defense, shut him down, and we won the game. Offense is exciting, but defense wins you championships. Kareem knew this better than anyone.

Highlights from Coach Humphrey: “The first is Kobe Colston from Blake. He came into our game averaging nearly 24 points per game; top in the county. Voting results for the Capital Classic had just been sent to the coaches, and Kobe had received more votes than Kareem. I may or may not have pulled Kareem aside before the game to give him this news, and Kareem may or may not have been in a controlled rage for the duration of the game as a result. Needless to say, Kareem hounded Kobe everywhere he went. He played full-court, in-your-face defense that wore Kobe out. Kobe finished with eight points on 3-of-15 shooting with five turnovers.

“The other memory the coaches continually talked about was how well Kareem defended Matt Kelly from Quince Orchard. Looking at the game stats, one would think that Matt played well. He scored 11 points as their primary ball handler. But Kareem forced Matt into five turnovers, while not committing any himself (impressive since Kareem was our point guard). QO’s whole offense is based around being able to run their sets with precision. When QO is allowed to run their offense as they want, they are almost impossible to beat; just ask Wise. Kareem knew every single one of QO’s play calls. When he didn’t force Matt into a turnover, he made Matt’s life tough all night by forcing him to start QO’s offense further and further from the hoop. Offensively, Kareem had three assists, but had not scored once until the final minute of the game. This was certainly unusual for Kareem, but he wasn’t bothered one bit. All he cared about was winning. So when “winning time” came with under a minute to play, Kareem calmingly sank four consecutive free throws to seal the victory. We were the only Montgomery County team to beat QO last year. Kareem was a major reason why.”  


Baltimore Polytechnic Institute Engineers

Photo by Austin McFadden/MSA.

Led by lionhearted coach Sam Brand, Poly proved to be no match when it fired on all cylinders. MSA Player of the Year and Temple-bound, 6-foot-6 forward De’Vondre Perry overwhelmed defenses on a nightly basis, and guards Demetrius Mims (6-foot-5) and Rahim Ali (5-foot-9) formed a dynamite backcourt with length and swiftness. Scrapy 6-foot-4 forward Torrin Stephens provided grit in the frontcourt, and put up 16 points, seven rebounds and four blocks in the state title game. The Engineers played what could have been the toughest non-conference schedule by any public school on the East Coast, facing nationally renowned programs Bishop Laughlin (Brooklyn), H.D. Woodson (D.C.), Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia), Sagemont (Fla.), Simeon (Illi.) and Baltimore-area powers like Mount St. Joseph and St. Frances. In total, Poly finished with a 23-7 record and a 19-2 record against in-state public schools. Outscored opponents by 26.6 points en route to the state title, including a 74-44 thumping of Stephen Decatur, which held a 26-1 record at the time.


The 10 best players across the MPSSAA’s four classifications


G Manny Camper, Kent County / Sr.

The Siena commit led the MPSSAA in points per game at 28.6 and shot a staggering 82 percent from the floor, including 60 percent from deep. Also averaged 13.4 rebounds, four assists, four steals and five blocks a game. Dropped a season-high 43 points in three quarters.

G Jalen Gibbs, North Point / Sr.

Finished second in the public school scoring race at 28.2 points a game. Scored in double-figures in all 24 games, while averaging 10.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.7 steals. Had a season-high 40 points. Committed to Drake.  

G Zach Tucker, Century / Sr.

Photo by Reggie Hildred/MSA.

Crafty scorer who averaged 24.1 points led an under-the-radar Century (23-3) team to the 2A title game and Carroll County championship with an unblemished intra-county mark (12-0). Dropped 34 points in the 70-61 semifinal win over Central. Committed to Lebanon Valley (Division III).

G Marvin Price, Patterson / So.

The Power 5 prospect emerged as one of the state’s top forces, averaging 22.7 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists in Patterson’s 2A title campaign. Led the Clippers to its first City championship and state title since the Aquille Carr-era in 2011 and 2012. Offers include Kansas State and Virginia Tech.

F La’Quill Hardnett, Perry Hall / Jr.

Photo by Austin McFadden/MSA.

The versatile 6-foot-9 forward, who averaged 13.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists, keyed Perry Hall to its first state title and a 26-2 record. Led the Gators in rebounds, assists and blocks (2.0 a game). Averaged 12.5 points, 16.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.5 blocks at the state tournament. Holds many Division I offers, including Rhode Island, Rice and Towson. 

G Michael Speight, Wise / Sr.

Photo by Austin McFadden/MSA.

Fueled a high-octane offense with a team-high 18.4 points per game. Centered the Pumas to a 21-0 start before losing in the state semifinals. The stocky 6-foot-2 guard also averaged five rebounds, four assists and two steals. Remains uncommitted with offers including USC and Towson. 

F Darron Barnes, Wise / Sr.

Photo by Austin McFadden/MSA.

The 6-foot-6 forward served as a bedrock in the frontcourt at 14 points, 12 rebounds and five assists per game, accenting a Wise squad that dominated the perimeter. Played a large hand in the Pumas’ 21-0 start before they fell in the state semifinals. Will do a prep year at Massanutten Military Academy in Virginia. 

G Darren Lucas-White, Fairmont Heights / Jr.

Photo by Austin McFadden/MSA.

Led the upstart Hornets to their first state title since 1981 at 20 points, seven rebounds, six assists and six steals per game. Registered 15 points, eight rebounds and four steals in the state title game.  

 F Johnny Fierstein, Quince Orchard / Sr.

Quince Orchard’s Johnny Fierstein racked up 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists during the Cougars’ upset of No. 1 Wise on Thursday. Photo by Austin McFadden/MSA.

Fierstein, who consistently picked apart opponents with his high basketball IQ, navigated Quince Orchard (24-3) to its first region title since 1991 and first state title appearance since 2000. The 6-foot-4 forward averaged 14 points, eight rebounds, two steals and two blocks per game. Put up 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists in the epic 55-52 upset of nationally ranked Wise in the semifinals. Set to play college ball at Salisbury (Division III). 

F Keve Aluma, Stephen Decatur / Sr.

Photo by Austin McFadden/MSA.

At 18 points on 67 percent shooting and 12 rebounds per game, the Wofford-bound, 6-foot-8 forward led Stephen Decatur to one of the most dominant regular seasons in recent history. Under Aluma’s leadership, the Seahawks (25-2) won all 20 conference games by an average of 25.3 points, cruised to a second straight Bayside title and back-to-back state tournament appearances.

About Kyle McFadden 416 Articles
Kyle McFadden is a graduate from Linganore High School's Class of 2014, a sports junkie and general news-hound. He got his start as a sports writer in January 2014 for Linganore's student-run newspaper The Lance, where he wrote 13 articles. McFadden then launched his own blog in October 2014 called The Beltway Dispatch covering collegiate, local high school and professional sports. Formally known as The Beltway Dispatch, McFadden and Evan Engelhard merged respective platforms in June 2015 to make what is now Maryland Sports Access. With baseball, basketball and golf experience, McFadden brings ample knowledge to the helm of MSA. McFadden covers a wide variety of sports in football, baseball, basketball, golf, hockey, lacrosse, soccer and specializes in the collegiate and high school levels. McFadden volunteers his time at Damascus Road Community Church -- serving as a mentor to the youth, basketball coach at the varsity and junior varsity levels, and leads a small group of high school sophomores every Wednesday night. Although he's only been around journalism since January 2014, he's a high school sports reporter for The Baltimore Sun and freelancer for The Frederick News-Post. McFadden's work has also appeared in DMV newspapers The Aegis, The Capital Gazette, The Daily Times (Delmarva Now), The Hometown Observer, Howard County Times, Germantown Pulse and The Towson Times. He's also won two Mike Powell Excellence in Journalism awards and has appeared on The Best of SNO, which showcases top student work of high school and college journalists. McFadden currently studies at Frederick Community College and plans to transfer to the University of Maryland in the fall of 2018 to work on a bachelor's degree in journalism with aspirations to be a national college basketball writer.
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1 Comment on 2017 MSA public school boys’ basketball awards

  1. Excellent article. But Perry’s 2015-16 Season wasn’t underwhelming, Poly went 13-0 in the city league while playing everyone twice and went on to win the schools first city championship. They were upset in the playoffs.

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