By Daniel Fama and Jack Creegan
LARGO, MD – The Montgomery Raptors became the third match up low-seed in a row to come out on top in the quarterfinals of the Maryland Juco Conference Men's Basketball Tournament, as the No. 5 seed defeated the No. 4 seed Baltimore City Panthers 95-84.
Montgomery's Collin Turner, a 2-time Maryland Juco Student Athlete of the Month this season, eclipsed 1,000 career points in the victory.
In an offensive outburst, the Raptors shot 50% from behind the arc (10-20). A 9-0 run, supported by three straight three-pointers gave the Raptors a 32-18 lead with 8:22 left in the half.
Afanna Offor was the catalyst to the Raptors offensive explosion, going 5-for-5 from three-point range. Offor would go on to lead all scorers in the half with 15 points.
The Panthers were able to keep it within striking distance behind the performance of Ed Oliver-Hampton, who scored 10 points and added four rebounds.
Halftime Score: Panthers 34, Raptors 44
A comfortable 10-point halftime lead for the Raptors turned into a 19 point cushion eight minutes into the second half.
Affana Offor continued his hot start, finishing with 20 points on an impressive 6-of-7 shooting, all of which came from three point range.
With 9:50 remaining in the game, Montgomery's Collin Turner sunk a free throw, giving him his 1,000th career point in just a season and a half.
There was no time for celebration though, as the Panthers slowly clawed their way back into the game.
The lead shrunk to five points down the stretch, as the Panthers edged closer with 1:25 left to play. The comeback bid came up short in the end, as the Raptors were able to pull away late. Freddie Harris finished off the game with an electrifying dunk to cap an impressive double-double performance.
Quotes and Notes
Head coach Keith Byrd reflected on Collin Turner and his 1,000-career point accomplishment:
"He's the most coachable young man," Byrd said. "It's icing on the cake for me, because I know his journey. He's worked so hard…His whole goal is to help his team win."
Byrd also recognized Afanna Offor's role in the victory:
"Afanna [Offor] has been consistent all year for us, but tonight he was special."
The Raptors will go on to play the winner of Harford and Prince George's at 6 p.m. on Saturday.