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After suffering back-to-back road losses to county foes North Point and Westlake last Friday and on Monday, respectively, Thomas Stone head coach Dale Lamberth said his boys basketball team needed to regroup before Wednesday night’s SMAC clash versus visiting Great Mills.

”We didn’t practice [Tuesday]; I felt like the guys needed some rest and some time to themselves,” Lamberth said. “We slept walk through the Westlake game, so we just had to regroup and rethink a little bit and get back to playing basketball.”

Thomas Stone 90, Great Mills 59

Great Mills 14 15 10 20

Stone 24 16 27 23

Great Mills: Sampson 22, Porter 11, Carter 8, Barnes 5, Hall 4, Butler 3, Greenwell 2, Wright 2, Williams 2

Stone: Briscoe 25, Battle 15, Williams 13, Lamberth 12, Doublin 10, Barnes 4, Batton 3, Cook 3, Hutchins 2, Gross 2, Randall 1

Free throws: Great Mills 12-16 (Sampson 7-8); Stone 13-22 (Battle 4-4, Briscoe 3-4)

3-point goals: Great Mills 2 (Porter, Sampson); Stone 6 (Briscoe 2, Lamberth 2, Battle, Doublin)

The Cougars responded with vengeance versus the Hornets.

After seven seniors were honored on their special night, the Cougars did not waste any time, taking an 11-point halftime lead to a 90-59 victory.

With the victory, Stone (15-7, 10-2 SMAC) capped off its regular season with a runner-up finish in SMAC behind conference champion North Point, which clinched its third-straight SMAC title with Stone’s loss Monday.

The Cougars now prepare for the Class 3A South Region playoffs, where they look to defend their region crown from last year.

Seniors Michael Briscoe, Jasc Williams, Clarence Toms, Malik Gross, Michael Barnes, Joe Cook and Tony Doublin all were honored in front of Cougars fans.

”Five months is a long time to be with the seniors,” Lamberth said. “Whether they have been playing for me for four years or just one year, they are still special and like sons to me.”

Stone took a 24-14 first-quarter lead, went up 40-29 at halftime and built a 67-39 advantage after three quarters to put the game out of reach.

”The guys were energized tonight, and we were a different team,” Lamberth said. “Great Mills made a few runs, but for the most part, we took them out of what they wanted to do.”

Briscoe, the SMAC’s leading scorer with 19.1 points per contest, scored 17 of his game-high 25 points in the second half and was one of five players on the team in double figures.

Junior guard Jordan Battle scored 15 points and Williams had 13, while junior guard Jourdan Lamberth pumped in 12 and Doublin added 10.

“With about three minutes left in the fourth quarter, I realized that this was my last [regular season] home game of my career,” Briscoe said. “Tonight was very special; I will miss playing here at Stone. Tonight we just buckled down on defense and came out with the ‘W.’”

Lamberth talked about how much Briscoe has grown since moving him up to the varsity ranks in the middle of his freshman season.

”I’ve been proud of what [Michael] has accomplished. He only had three points as a freshman and went on to score over 1,000 in really three years,” Lamberth said. “He’s a very unselfish player. The way he went about scoring 1,000 was special. He’s been our leader for the past two seasons.”

Leading Great Mills (11-10, 6-5) in scoring on the night was junior forward CJ Sampson with 22 points, scoring 11 points in the first half. Sampson was also 7 for 8 from the free-throw line, leading the Hornets.

“We just had some mistakes,” Sampson said. “We didn’t box out and made bad decisions. We have to make sure that when we are down by a little that we don’t let the game get out of hand.”

Sampson added, “I enjoy playing with my teammates; these are my brothers. We’ve been playing together for a long time.”

Great Mills head coach Frank Peck, whose team had won three of its four games before Wednesday’s loss, mentioned that Sampson was very effective.

”CJ played a very good game; he’s been doing well for us the last six games,” Peck said. “He definitely makes a difference for us.

The story of the game, according to Peck, was when the Cougars out-scored Great Mills 27-10 in the third quarter.

”We played well in spurts, but the first four minutes of the game, we weren’t ready to play,” Peck said. “We were down by 11 in the third quarter and just didn’t play consistent. That’s what need to work on.”

Great Mills will play its final regular season game versus visiting Huntingtown at 6:30 tonight, then head on to the 4A East Region playoffs.

ajmason@somdnews.com