COLLEGE PARK — Seth Jones grabbed the rebound after a missed layup, hit the left side of the backboard and threw a perfectly timed outlet pass to Long Beach State-bound guard Demetrius Mims, who was leaking out on the left side in transition. With the received pass, the athletic wing skyed above the rim for a thunderous windmill jam, with a subsequent announcement being made that Mims had finally broken the Engineers all-time scoring record.
At 1,498 career points, he broke the 23-year-old record held by Taylor McClean and former teammate of Engineers head coach Sam Brand.
“It’s been an unbelievable four years playing here at Poly,” Mims said. “Breaking the record means a whole lot to me, but it means nothing if the season doesn’t end with a ring.”
Baltimore Polytechnic couldn’t do much wrong on a night where their largest lead was 27 points over Decatur in its 63-46 triumph. Thanks to their size and length the Engineers were able to hold the Seahawks to 25.4% shooting from the floor (4-for-20 from long range). Thanks to Cleveland Horton, UMES-bound guard Kevon Voyles was held to only 19 points after scoring over 36 and 38 in his last two appearances, respectively.
Horton hounded his matchup into heavily contested shots while constantly getting into his airspace whenever Voyle had the ball. Brand was full of praise for the defensive performance of not only Horton but the Engineers in general. The defense was able to keep the Seahawks grounded for long stretches, including the last 3:09 of the final frame when Decatur failed to score on a field goal attempt.
“If you’re reporting on this game and you don’t talk about the defense Clevland Horton played I don’t think we watched the same game,” Brand said. “He was just about unbelievable, one of the best players all game.”
On the night Mims scored his record-breaking 30-piece, the wing guard nearly notched a double-double with nine rebounds. Although Mims was the only double-digit scorer on his squad, there were contributions across the board from other guys such as Justin Lewis and Amani Walker (11 rebounds, five points). The sophomore was able to grab a game-high 12 boards, while scoring nine points in front of University of Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon, who was on-hand for the contest.
With a chance to make their second straight state-final game, as well as earn their second championship in as many seasons, Mims and his teammates knew not to take anyone lightly. Especially after a grueling schedule featuring games against Woodrow Wilson (D.C.), Riverdale Baptist, and Simeon (Chicago).
The fruits of their labor are coming full circle now as they inch closer and closer to their end goal of another state crown. Mims in the third quarter alone was able to go on a personal 11-0 run, featuring two dunks of his own, while even showing off his playmaking chops when he threw an ally-opp to Lewis. Mims polished off the sequence with a 3-pointer and 51-24 lead.
On Saturday at 3 p.m., the Engineers are facing off against Milford Mill, with a chance for Mims and Horton to cement their legacies in basketball-rich Baltimore City.
“It hasn’t happened until last year. It was the first time [winning a state championship] in any sport,” Mims said. “It means a lot to school history.”