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One of the basketball nets is now missing from the Thomas Stone High School gymnasium and not because someone stole it.

Each player on the boys basketball team along with the coaching staff took a turn in cutting off a piece of the net after the Cougars defeated Potomac for the Class 3A South Region championship 79-63 on Saturday afternoon.

It’s the fourth time in five years that Stone has earned the regional title, 2008 and 2009 as a 4A team and 2010 as a 3A team.

Stone will play Centennial of Howard County in the state semifinals at 3 p.m. Thursday at the University of Maryland’s Comcast Center in College Park.

Cougars head coach Dale Lamberth said that this team is one of the ones that he will be bragging about for years to come.

“It’s starting to hit me because I know what these guys have been through in getting use to this whole season,” Lamberth said. We just have a bunch of no-name guys that have played as one all year, all year. No one was really concerned about who was in the paper. I’ve had some special teams since I’ve been here and this team is ranked up there. This is a great group of guys and I know a lot of coaches say that at times like this, but that’s from my heart.”

The tight Stone defense forced a Potomac timeout just 28 seconds into the contest.

After the visitors from Prince George’s County regrouped, senior and Morgan State University recruit Davon Williams stole the ball and fed it to Dion Wiley who knocked down a three-point shot to get the game started.

Stone went on a 14 point run before Potomac used another timeout. Emeka Embakwe (16 points) and Brelin Elliott (15 points) teamed up to push the Cougars out to a 19-7 first-quarter lead.

Potomac trimmed the Stone lead to 38-31 lead going into the locker room. The second half belonged to the Cougars.

The game-high scorer was junior Michael Briscoe with 25 points.

Wiley was the top scorer for Potomac with 20 points. Mark Givens was also in double figures with 15, while Romone Saunders added 13.

Potomac head coach Renard Johnson did not agree with many of the fouls called and neither did the visiting fans. Potomac was 17 of 20 (85 percent) at the line, while Stone went 25 of 39 (64 percent).

Williams and senior Valshawn Wallace both fouled out of the game, forcing Johnson to juggle his defense around. Johnson said his team is usually the one that go on the 15-point runs, but that wasn’t the case in this matchup.

“I want the seniors that are leaving to embrace a situation that started off we had no direction and it at least turned into what we had here,” Johnson said. “I want the other guys to feel the pain and hopefully that will fuel some hunger for next year.”

tshowalter@somdnews.com

Thomas Stone 79, Potomac 63

Potomac 7 24 11 21Stone 19 19 19 22

Potomac: Wiley 20, Givens 15, Saunders 13, Brandon 9, Wallace 4, Williams 2

Stone: Briscoe 25, Embakwe 16, Elliott 15, Mainor 6, Aderinkola 6, Stewart 5, Sanders 4, Chisley 2

Free throws: Potomac 17-20 (Saunders 8-8, Wiley 7-8); Stone 25-39 (Briscoe 10-17, Sanders 4-4, Mainor 4-5, Embakwe 4-5)

3-point goals: Potomac 8 (Brandon 3, Wiley 3, Givens, Saunders); Stone 1 (Briscoe)