CATONSVILLE — The Southern Garrett Rams, with sectional and regional titles already under their belts, now have their eyes set on a state championship, and the next step is tonight.
Coach Danny Bosley’s Rams (22-2) play Western Tech (19-6), of Baltimore County today, at 7 p.m., in the Class 1A state semifinals at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.
The other semifinal, between Mardela (20-5) and Dunbar (17-8) will follow. Tonight’s winners play for the state championship on Saturday at 6 p.m., at UMBC.
“We’ve worked hard in practice all week and got better as the week went on,’’ said Bosley. “We’re focused and ready to go.”
Southern beat North Carroll, 49-39, in the West Region championship game Saturday at North Hagerstown.
Mandy Sweitzer had 16 points and nine rebounds and Alicia Roth 11 points for the Rams, who never trailed and out-rebounded North Carroll 30-22.
“Limiting Western to one shot will be very important. They are big and athletic and they attack the boards,’’ Bosley said. “That’s sort of the Baltimore style. We also can’t afford to give up a lot of points off turnovers.”
Roth, a 5-foot-9 junior, leads a balanced scoring attack with a 12.1 average, followed by 6-0 senior Hannah Horne at 9.9 and 5-9 sophomore guard Kambrie Bosley at 8.8. Sweitzer, a 5-11 senior, averaged 11.6 points and 11.6 rebounds in the region tournament.
“We match up about the same, size-wise, but I think we might be able to create some matchup problems for them because of how we shoot the ball,” Bosley said.
“We also want to push the ball when we can and hopefully get some easy baskets. If it comes down to foul shooting, I think that would be a big advantage for us.”
All five Southern starters are shooting 65 percent or better from the free-throw line, and three are among the top 10 in the area. Roth is third at 79 percent, Raeslee Weimer sixth at 74 percent, and Sweitzer 10th at 68 percent.
Southern is playing in its eighth state tournament, and won state championships in its last two appearances, in 2004 and 2007.
Western Tech beat New Town 45-42 in the North Region final, after having whipped Sparrows Point 61-8 in the semifinals and Pikesville 49-18 in the quarterfinals.
Guard Sydney Clopton leads the Wolverines in scoring, averaging 16 points per game.
Western is making its second state tournament appearance. The Wolverines beat Fort Hill in the semifinals before losing to Dunbar in the final last year.
Mike Mathews is a Cumberland Times-News sportswriter. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org