Randallstown falls back, takes loss to T. Johnson Patriots use 23 free throws to hold off Rams, 59-53

Class 3A/Boys basketball

March 14, 1997|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

COLLEGE PARK -- A couple weeks ago, Randallstown coach Kim Rivers wasn't sure his team would be at College Park. After losing the Baltimore County championship game to Woodlawn, Rivers questioned his team's heart.

But the No. 5 Rams rose to the occasion with a come-from-behind win over Woodlawn in regional finals last week to earn a state Class 3A semifinal date against Thomas Johnson. Again last night, Randallstown had to play catch-up, but the Rams couldn't overtake the Frederick club, losing 59-53, at the University of Maryland last night.

Terence Morris, headed to the Terps on a scholarship, led Thomas Johnson, ranked No. 5 in the state by the Associated Press, with a triple-double: 28 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocked shots. Junior Demon Brown led Randallstown (21-5) with 24 points.

The Patriots (21-5) will play No. 6 Dunbar for the state championship at Cole Field House at 3 p.m. tomorrow. The Poets, winners of four straight state titles and owners of a 20-0 state playoff record, defeated Crossland of Prince George's County, 68-58, in the other semifinal.

It was the fourth consecutive trip to the state semifinals for Randallstown, which defeated Thomas Johnson in the 1995 Class 3A championship game. The Rams frittered away a possible second trip to the finals with a bunch of missed opportunities.

Randallstown was down, 55-53, after a jumper by Tony Darden (nine points) over Morris with 31 seconds remaining. The Rams quickly fouled Eric Wyatt of Thomas Johnson.

After hitting the front end of a one-and-one, Wyatt missed the second, but the ball was knocked back into the hands of Chad Dickman, who was fouled with 14.8 seconds left. Dickman hit both free throws to extend Thomas Johnson's lead to 58-53.

"We knew they were a great defensive team that forces you into turnovers," said Thomas Johnson coach Tom Dickman. "We were very fortunate to keep some pressure on them in the second half."

Free throws proved to be the difference. Randallstown went to the foul line 13 times, making only five. Thomas Johnson shot 32 free throws and connected on 23.

Randallstown converted only one of eight free throws in a two-minute stretch midway through the fourth quarter that left the Rams behind 53-49 with 3: 57 left.

"We wanted to pressure them for 32 minutes and see if they wear down," said Rivers. "They were able to get a couple of

players involved other than Terence, but it's hard to win when you shoot 5-for-13 and your opponent is 23 of 32."

Randallstown led on three occasions, all coming in the first half, as Morris had five blocks and presented the Rams problems inside.

"We knew we had to stop Terence and Alexander, and we did a good job in the first half," said Darden, who outrebounded Morris, 12-10. "In the fourth quarter, we had our chances, but things didn't go our way."

Pub Date: 3/14/97

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