Third time's the charm for Randallstown, 56-49

Rams oust Eastern Tech after 2 finals losses in row

Boys 3A regional final

March 05, 2000|By Mike Frainie | Mike Frainie,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Randallstown coach Kim Rivers had a goal for his team last night: to hold Eastern Tech to fewer than 45 points.

The host Rams lost the battle but won the war, allowing Eastern Tech 49 points but winning the Class 3A North region boys title, 56-49.

The win ends two years of frustration for Randallstown. The Rams lost in the regional final both of the previous two seasons to Edgewood.

The Rams were led by Antoine Jordan's 20 points, which included four three-pointers. Eastern was led by Ricky Benson and Paul O'Donnell with 10 points each.

"It feels great to finally get over the hump," said Rivers, who coached the Rams to the 3A state title in 1994-95. "I'm just happy for the kids. They committed early on to what we were trying to do."

What the Rams (24-2) committed to last night was playing defense. Randallstown put up an array of zone defenses that seemed to take away any chance Eastern had of pounding the ball inside.

"They took away our passing lanes," said Eastern Tech coach Todd Wade. "Their defense was phenomenal, and they deserved to win tonight."

To make matters worse for the Mavericks (17-7), they were 6-for-16 from the free-throw line, including 4-for-12 in the second half.

"We just weren't focused right [at the line]," said Eastern's Will Hawthorne. "The defense took us out of our game, and we lost our composure a little bit."

The Rams will face the winner of last night's Great Mills-Northern Calvert game in Thursday's 5 p.m. state semifinal at Cole Field House.

Eastern played catch-up the entire game, but the Rams could not put them away. The Mavericks cut the lead to 29-28 with 2: 02 left in the third quarter, but Randallstown went on a 5-0 run over the next 3 1/2 minutes to run the score to 34-28.

Randallstown took its biggest lead, 50-39, with 1: 02 left in the game, but the Mavericks would not go away. Eastern went on an 8-2 run, sparked by guard Paul O'Donnell's two consecutive three-pointers, to cut the lead to 52-47.

By then it was too late.

The loss ended a fantastic season for Eastern Tech. The Mavericks became a Baltimore County power this season, and this was the first time they had played for the regional title.

"When I took over the program, we were playing in Division III in Baltimore County," said Wade. "This year, we beat ranked teams for the first time, beat Woodlawn for the first time and made it here."

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