COLLEGE PARK -- For three quarters of yesterday's Class 2A championship game at Cole Field House, Baltimore County, which had won just three state titles since 1947 heading into this season, had hopes of winning three in one year.
But Overlea High failed to make it a hat trick for the county, as it fell to defending 2A champ Forestville, 84-53, at Cole Field House.
Catonsville (Class 3A) and Milford Mill (1A) each won a state title in the first two championship games yesterday.
Overlea (23-1) trailed 51-47 after three quarters but was blitzed 33-6 in the fourth quarter, as it ran out of gas against the bigger, faster and more talented Knights (22-4) from Prince George's County. Overlea made one of 19 shots in the final period after hitting 19 of 41 through three quarters.
"We got real tired," said Overlea coach Doug Eisenhauer. "They just had too many athletes. They stepped up their defense a notch, and we got frustrated. They were bigger, faster, stronger. We really tried to just regain composure and run a set offense, but they just put the clamps on us and we could not regain composure."
For three quarters, Overlea had more than enough composure to stay with the Knights, with 6-foot-6 senior center Bernard Hopkins leading the way. Hopkins scored 19 (17 in the first half) and had 10 rebounds through three quarters to keep the Falcons within striking distance.
But early in the fourth, Hopkins showed signs of fatigue, picking up three fouls during a pivotal 31-second span as Forestville began to pull away.
Hopkins finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds and senior forward Dearic Carter had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Falcons. Hopkins and Carter played the entire game, while fellow starters Shonte Dukes, James Walsh and David Johnson all played nearly 30 of the 32 minutes.
Senior forward Orone Clark paced Forestville with 34 points. Senior guard Jeff Starkey added 24 points. The Knights really used just six players.
"They had a lot of athletes, a lot of talent," said Hopkins. "We were tired. They play a lot of good overplay defense. They put a lot of pressure on our point guard [Dukes, who had eight turnovers]."
Forestville also put a lot of defensive pressure on the rest of the Falcons. The Knights limited Walsh, Dukes and Johnson to four points apiece. Hopkins and Carter, who hit six of 15 shots, could only carry the Falcons so far.
"Seeing them last night [in the semifinals], we knew they weren't very deep," said Forestville coach Gary McCorkle. "In the second half, we went to full-court man-to-man pressure to try to make them wilt. They didn't seem to have very much on the bench."
Overlea did a good job of slowing Forestville's standout center, Kwamin Freeland (nine points), but couldn't stop Clark or Starkey, who combined to hit 24 of 46 shots, including seven of 14 three-pointers.
Forestville started quickly, racing to a 9-1 lead as Starkey hit two three pointers and Clark added another. The Knights built their early advantage to 13-3 before Overlea came to life behind Hopkins.
The Falcons finished the quarter with a 13-4 run, including eight by Hopkins, to get within 17-16 at the end of the first quarter.
Forestville eased ahead 21-18 before Overlea ran off eight straight, including four by Hopkins, to pull ahead 28-23.
But the Knights rallied with 10 straight, including three-pointers by Starkey and Clark, to take a 33-28 lead. They led at the half, 35-30.
Overlea led briefly in the third quarter. The Falcons ran off eight straight to erase a 39-32 deficit and take a 40-39 lead. Overlea led 45-44 before Forestville ran off seven straight to take the lead for good at 51-45. The Knights led 51-47 at the end of the third quarter.
FORESTVILLE -- Clark 34, Starkey 24, Freeland 9, Stevens 10, Williams 4, Allison 3. Totals: 33 10-20 84.
OVERLEA -- Hopkins 21, Carter 18, Dukes 4, Johnson 4, Walsh 4, Blount 2. Totals: 20 11-15 53.
Forestville 17 18 16 33 -- 84
Overlea 16 14 17 6 -- 53