TANEYTOWN — Whenever somebody's displaying a Carroll County Boys' Basketball League A Division championship trophy, you can bet that the Woodbine Rebels are lurking nearby.
This Woodbine rec council traveling squad for 12- to 14-year-old boys has amassed quite a record since being formed only a year ago.
In its inaugural campaign, Woodbine placed second in the League'sChristmas Tournament and regular season and then won the postseason tourney.
And, when this year's A Division Christmas tourney concluded Sunday evening at West Middle School, the Rebels were there again.
Woodbine led all the way to top Winfield, 34-27, in the championship game, capping a 4-0 weekend.
Woodbine coach Ron Gwyn credits disciplined play and aggressive defense for his squad's consistently strong finishes.
"I like to play control basketball, not the one-on-one type," he explained.
But this team's success last weekend surprised even him.
"I thought we'd be competitive, but I never thought we'd win," Gwyn said.
While the team was relatively experienced, with many returnees from last year's A and B teams, it wasn't tall, and an injury limited forward Brandon Dorsey to only a few minutes playing time.
But Randy Wright, one of two Rebels with no previousbasketball experience, teamed with Bryce Baker on defense to controlthe boards most of the time.
And Baker, operating at point guard on offense, led the Rebel scorers each game.
Using a variety of driving moves and inside shots, he scored 99 points in the four contests.
Woodbine opened the tournament Friday by topping Westminster, 47-41, after leading, 19-15, at halftime.
It was another halftime cliff-hanger in Saturday's game against Taneytown, with Woodbine having only a 17-15 edge. But the South Carroll team eventually pulled away to win, 36-23.
Woodbine's next game was easier, as it broke on top, 25-9, at intermission and cruised to a 49-35 win over St. John's.
Baker scored 28 in that one;point guard David Fogle added 10.
Meanwhile, Winfield was winning, too.
In the Warriors' first game Saturday, they topped Mount Airy, 41-37.
Guard Brian Damiano led Winfield with 15 points, and forward Danny Wroten added 11.
The Warriors then rolled to a 41-28 win over St. Joseph's, as forward Steve Murphy led with 12 points and Damiano added 10.
Winfield acting coach Bunky Little credited the play of point guard Shawn Waters and also strong rebounding for his team's showing in those two games.
But Woodbine got strong rebounding of its own from Wright and Baker in the finale.
Woodbine also unleashed a pressure defense to keep Waters from getting the ball inside.
The result was a lot of turnovers that helped Woodbine quickly jump ahead.
The Rebels led, 19-9, at halftime, withstood a third-quarter Warrior comeback, and went on to win by seven points.
Gwyn cited the Taneytown game as the point when he thought his team could win it all.
"Taneytown had a tallerteam, but we still denied the ball to their men inside. I saw the players begin talking to each other out there," he said.
He then added, "I thought to my myself, 'These kids are looking pretty good,' " he said with a chuckle.
But he also noted the Rebels' successes will make them a marked team when the regular season opens in January.
"I guess everybody will be gunning for us now," he said.