Motivated Edgewood picks up region title Rams return to Cole with 74-58 rout of Elkton

Class 1A/Boys basketball

March 08, 1997|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

All the motivation Edgewood needed in last night's Class 1A North region final was hanging on the Rams' locker room wall.

A year-old newspaper clipping in which Elkton coach John Artinger was quoted as saying he "guaranteed" his team would make it to Cole Field House for this year's state playoffs served as a constant reminder of what Edgewood would have to overcome if it were to return to Cole for the fifth time in seven years.

Edgewood can take it down now because the Rams are going back to Cole. They made sure of that last night as they blew the game open in the third quarter and cruised to a 74-58 victory over their Cecil County rivals.

Edgewood (23-4) will face the winner of the matchup between Beall and Westmar at 3 p.m. or 5 p.m. Friday in the Class 1A state semifinal at College Park.

"I really wanted to get back to Cole Field House so bad, and a lot of emotions were running through me tonight," said senior forward Kirk Forbes, who scored 18 of his team-high 25 points in the first half. "We did what we had to do, and we played our game."

The Elks (17-8), who suffered a 97-88 defeat in Edgewood's season-opener, looked like they were going to make their coach's prediction come true when they took an early 11-2 lead.

Edgewood, which has won seven straight, chipped away at the lead in the first quarter and pulled to within 14-10. The Rams knotted the score at 20 on a three-pointer by freshman Eric Butler with 4: 51 left in the half. Butler, who was called up from the JV for the postseason, forced a turnover at the other end of the floor on the Elks' next possession and junior Allen Jordan brought the vocal crowd to its feet with a bank shot that gave the Rams their first lead.

Once Edgewood took the lead, it never gave it back. Forbes' three-pointer from the baseline and Mike Griffin's follow-up gave the hosts a 33-28 lead at the half.

That margin stretched to 13 midway through the third quarter when Jordan stole an inbounds pass and fed Griffin in the corner for one of his three three-pointers.

Griffin closed the third with another three, giving the Rams a 62-40 cushion.

Edgewood got a little careless with the ball in the fourth quarter but regained its focus and never allowed the Elks to pull closer than 17.

Griffin finished with 15 points and fellow junior Keith Winder added 12. Jordan, who was injured last season, chipped in 10 and Amos Henderson, one of six Edgewood players playing their last home game, tossed in seven.

The Rams had a tough time stopping Elkton's Paul Taylor in the first half, but managed to contain him in the second half, holding him to a team-high 18 points.

"I knew Elkton would come out psyched. It was a matter of whether we could defuse it and come back and play, and I think the two seniors, Henderson and Forbes, really played well and kept us in it," said Edgewood coach Bob Slagle.

"In the third quarter, the two juniors, Winder and Griffin, got some looks and when they get some looks, they're going to make them," Slagle said.

Pub Date: 3/08/97

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