Randallstown catches, passes Woodlawn Rams rally from 17 down to win region at end

Class 3A/Boys basketball

March 08, 1997|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Randallstown spent all season playing second-best to No. 5 Woodlawn in Baltimore County. Last night, the No. 9 Rams picked just the right time to take the lead.

Trailing by as many as 17 points in the first half, the Rams used the second half to patiently chip away at the Woodlawn advantage.

Demon Brown rattled in a short jumper to give the Rams their first lead with 2: 14 left, 68-66, and Tony Darden's slam on the very next possession making it 70-66 proved to be more than an exclamation point as the Rams (21-4) held on to capture the Class 3A North region championship with a 70-69 win over the visiting Warriors.

Randallstown advances to the state semifinals at 3 or 5 p.m. Thursday at the University of Maryland against Thomas Johnson and Maryland-bount Terence Morris.

The Warriors (24-2) beat Randallstown to win the Wes Unseld Holiday tournament, 69-62, and beat them again, 88-71, to win the Baltimore County championship.

With Aaron Ragsdale hitting for 16 of his game-high 22 points in the first half to help get Woodlawn off to the fast start, it looked for a while as if it would be more of the same last night.

"We knew we'd have to get past Woodlawn to go to Cole Field House," said Darden. "We were out of it in the first half, but Coach [Kim Rivers] got real emotional during halftime, and it got everyone back in the game. We just needed to keep focused, and everything clicked. It was all heart."

Brown finished with 21 points and Darden had 15.

With Woodlawn leading 51-42 late in the third quarter, Brown scored seven of the Rams' last nine points of the quarter to cut the Woodlawn lead to 53-51.

Follows from Paul Kwajafa and William Epps twice gave the Warriors two-point leads early in the fourth quarter after the Rams tied the score.

After Brown drove the lane and found Jerry Venable for a slam -- tying the score a third time at 66 -- the Rams took their first lead on the next possession when Brown hit the soft jumper to make 68-66. After Darden's slam gave the Rams a 70-66 lead, the Warriors got three free throws from Ragsdale to make it 70-69.

The Warriors had one last possession with five seconds left, but Ragsdale's half-court heave clanked off the backboard.

"We got complacent. They were at home, and they got the tempo," said Woodlawn coach Bobby Richardson. "I knew it would be tough coming in here tonight. I was happy with the halftime lead, but not over-zealous. The guys relaxed a little."

Pub Date: 3/08/97

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