Most heroes ride in on a white charger, but Dennis Edwards arrived in a Yellow Checker cab.
Edwards missed his ride to Annapolis High Thursday night, and little did he know what was in store for him as he flagged down a cab.
The taxi to the rescue resulted in Edwards arriving just in time to put on an unforgettable show at Annapolis High as the Panthers improved to 2-0 with a scintillating basketball victory over Parkdale of Prince George's County.
"Dennis didn't get there until 7 p.m. (game time was 7:30). We owe that Yellow Checker cab driver a season ticket because if he hadn't gotten Dennis there, I probably would have forfeited," joked Annapolis coach John Brady.
"The ride cost him five bucks, so we're going to get the Boosters Club to reimburse him. I would like to know who the cab driver is because I owe him a tip."
The unknown taxi driver saved the night for Brady and his defending state 4A champion Annapolis Run-and-Stun Panthers. Edwards lighted up the Panthers' den with a school-record 50 points, and the high-octane Panthers gave their fans a state championship game encore in out-running Parkdale, 110-101.
It was back in March that Annapolis ran by High Point of Prince George's County, 106-102, for the state 4A title at Cole Field House. Thursday night's game was a near carbon copy and also confirmed Butch Young's assessment of Annapolis after his Meade team was run dizzy by the Panthers, 95-59, Wednesday night.
When asked after the game if Annapolis was that good or his Mustangs that bad, Young answered, "When they're able to dictate the tempo, I believe they're that good.
"The thing that surprised me was that I thought our guards would have a lot more patience, but our guards lost it."
Meade lost it in the third period Wednesday, but the 'Stangs will be back, and I'll tell you more about them in a minute.
Parkdale also lost it in the third period as Annapolis, running the famed Loyola Marymount offense created by Paul Westhead, exploded for 34 points to 19 by the visitors to take an 84-74 lead into the fourth quarter.
The visitors built a 14-point margin early and by the end of the first period were up 36-24. At the half, Parkdale led 55-50.
"Unbelievably paced game," said Brady. "We pressed and they beat our press, and they were scoring on us at will and we couldn't stop them, and they couldn't stop us.
"It was just a matter of back and forth until we hit a streak and got up by five. They stayed in a zone, and we put Dennis in the middle. He just cranked it away. We got it in his hands and he made something happen."
The lightning-quick 6-foot-5 senior forward put on a clinic with 22 field goals, one three-pointer and three free throws in five attempts. He also dished out 10 assists.
"He missed his first three or four shots that were easy shots or he would have set a county record for points," said Brady.
The 50 points missed the county record of 52 set by Glen Burnie's Mike Thibeault last year. Thibeault is now playing at the University of Maryland as a walk-on.
Don't be surprised if Edwards cracks 60 in a game this year and sets new standards. This guy is the best shooter the Panthers have had since the great James Butler graduated in 1986 with the highest average in school history at 30.9, second in the county to the 33.0 by Steve Stielper of Andover in 1975-1976.
Butler was the Anne Arundel County Sun Basketball Player of the Decade this past January. Brady said Butler was "the best shooter we've ever had" but by the end of this season, he might be saying the same thing about Edwards.
"Let me tell you something: Parkdale has got some studs and Dennis was not playing against any dogs, believe me," said Brady. "The kid for them, (Irvin) Church had 41 points, unbelievable. He was hitting three-pointers from well beyond NBA range."
Church, a 6-1 senior guard, banged in four three-pointers, and the 6-7 Sherrill twins, Brett and Brent, had 20 and 16 points, respectively.
The 211 total points by both teams is believed to be a state record.
"I've been around the county 20 years and I can't ever remember two teams scoring that many points in one game," said Brady, who is in his 14th season as head coach at Annapolis and before that was an assistant at Andover to Dick Hart. Brady also played at Mount St. Joseph High and for a short time at the University of Maryland.
What's remarkable about Edwards' 77 points in the first two games is that another senior, 6-6 Delmore Howard, has been nearly as hot with 53 points, including 28 in the Parkdale shootout.
"This game didn't have the impact or importance of last year's state championship game, but as far as entertainment value it was quite a game," said Brady.
And obviously Brady has got quite a team once again, one that judging by the first two games could be unbeatable in county play.