Reliving The Agony And Ecstasy At State Boys Basketball Playoffs

Winners And Losers And Thrills Aplenty

March 17, 1991|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Staff writer

Eight days later, victory still tastes sweet and defeat still tastesbitter.

A month, a year, 10 years later, the players, coaches andfans still will remember how it felt to win or to lose at last weekend's state boys basketball playoffs. The scores won't be all that important. A lot of fans probably have forgotten them already.

For the record, Joppatowne brought home its second straight Class1A title with a 67-47 victory over Pocomoke. Edgewood made its firsttrip to the championship game in 14 years before falling, 77-59, to Forestville in Class 2A.

For everyone who made the trip to Cole Field House in College Park, thrilling moments from last weekend will linger years after the names and numbers have been forgotten.

Amongthose highlights:

* Semi-long shots. Joppatowne's Terrence Cain hit the longest shot of the state tournament -- a 35-footer that sparked the Mariners (20-4) to victory in the semifinals. When Cain let the ball go nine seconds before halftime, coach Mike Bauer screamed that it was too soon. But the shot seemed to take five seconds to get tothe backboard, where it hit perfectly and banked in. Joppatowne never again trailed in the game.

A few hours later, Maurice Boone canned a 25-footer at the buzzer giving Harford County champion Edgewood a 68-65 triumph over Wilde Lake in a Class 2A semifinal. Everyone wasready for overtime when Boone let lose his prayer with 0.9 second left. It swished, triggering the wildest celebration of the tournament.A deluge of screaming fans poured out of the stands to join their heroes on the court.

* Devastatin' dunk. Kevin Hockaday, Joppatowne's 6-foot-5 center, released some frustration by slamming home the Mariners' final bucket in their semifinal victory. Hockaday had trouble adjusting to the Cole Field House atmosphere as well as Wilde Lake's tightly packed zone.

"It's like shooting out in the middle of nowhere," said Hockaday, who needed some playing time simply to adjust tothe view through the backboards. Instead of seeing the bare wall he was used to, Hockaday was looking at rows of colorful empty seats andpeople walking around on the upper level. Hockaday, however, rebounded to finish strong with 29 points and 22 rebounds in the two games.

* Air Worthington. Edgewood's Lawrence Worthington soared like no other player at the tournament. At 6-1, the senior outleaped a Forestville of trees for a game-high-tying 10 rebounds. With a towering vertical jump, Worthington easily battled guys 6-5 and 6-8 on the boards. He also had three blocks -- one morethan the entire Forestville team.

* Ferocious finish. Joppatowne started off the title game struggling to put five points on the board in the first quarter. But the Mariners poured it on for 37 points in the fourth period. That frenzy,led by Cain's 18 points, fell just six shy of the state tournament record for most points in a quarter. In 1971, Fairmont Heights of Prince George's County put up 43 while scoring 120 in the game.

* Sharpshooters. The Mariners might have broken a record for best shooting percentage in a quarter, but the state tournament committee doesn't keep quite that many stats. During their fourth-quarter rally in the title game, the Mariners hit 13 of 15 shots (86 percent) from the floor, including eight in a row to finish off the championship.

In another area where records aren't kept, Hockaday might have set one, too. He, at least, would have tied one with two perfect days at the line. He hit all seven of his free throws.

* Trey bon. Edgewood swingman Steve Lewis (28 points in the final) nearly shot down the record for three-pointers in a single game. He hit five of 10 attempts in thechampionship game, but Smithburg's Eric Gerber still holds the record of six from 1988.

* Two-timers. Joppatowne became the only Harford County basketball team to win back-to-back titles. Only one other county team has won two -- Aberdeen in 1951 and 1976. Edgewood (1975)and North Harford (1962) have one each. But none of those teams holds the county record for most appearances in the final four. Havre de Grace made nine trips to the semifinals between 1969 and 1988.

* Sophomore slump? In addition to his game-winning shot, Boone proved that he is a money ball player with a big future. The 6-1 point guard led Coach Bob Slagle's Rams (24-2) with 40 points in the tournament. He also had 12 assists and hit 14 of 18 shots from the free throw line.

* Triple play. Over the past three years, the Mariners have compiled a 62-9 record.

"I can remember many years in my coaching career when losing nine games still meant we had a good season," said Bauer, after completing his 11th year at the Mariners' helm.

* He wore an orange ribbon. Everyone on the Joppatowne team kept an orange ribbon pinned to his warm-up jacket as a tribute to two former teammates serving in the Persian Gulf. Lamont Wessonand Tim Herd played for the Mariners two years ago, and both are still serving in the Middle East with the Army.

"The kids came to me and asked if they could dothis," said Bauer, whose players had no family members in the Persian Gulf. "They were very mature about it. They wanted to do something to show their concern, but it wasn't something outlandish. This kept the kids focused on things that were more important than basketball."

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