Randallstown dodges Woodlawn for Baltimore Co. crown, 96-91

McNeil's 40, Stukes' 31 lead Rams to 22-0 mark

Boys basketball

High Schools

February 16, 2002|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,SUN STAFF

Woodlawn's boys basketball team went to Randallstown last night seeking not only the Baltimore County championship but respect.

Unranked all season, the Warriors wanted to prove that they were capable of playing with the area's elite teams.

Woodlawn earned its respect by pushing the fourth-ranked Rams to the limit in a physical, back-and-forth contest. But Randallstown went home with the championship plaque, winning by 96-91.

The defending Class 3A champion Rams' dream of finishing their school's first undefeated season was in constant jeopardy during a game with 24 lead changes and 14 ties.

Randallstown (22-0) needed outstanding efforts from senior forward Jerrell McNeil and junior guard/forward Levi Stukes to get past Woodlawn.

McNeil scored a career-high 40 points and hit six three-pointers. Stukes added 31 points, including seven of eight free throws in the fourth quarter.

Woodlawn (13-8) was led by Ebarko Carr (24 points) and Brian Jensen (20).

"I think my kids really performed tonight," Woodlawn coach Eddie Green said. "We've been looking for respect all year, and finally, we gave the effort necessary against a top-five team. I think this momentum will carry over into the states."

The Rams, who have won five county titles in seven years under coach Kim Rivers, had defeated the Warriors by double digits twice during the regular season.

"They surprised us," Stukes said of Woodlawn's effort. "We weren't focused in the beginning. We were big-headed, because we had beaten them twice."

Stukes said the Rams also were looking ahead to regional playoffs, where a matchup with No. 1 Douglass could materialize.

Woodlawn ended the third quarter on a 13-2 run to build its biggest lead at 76-65 to start the fourth.

The Rams chipped away, however, regaining the lead at 84-83 on a three-pointer by Aaron Carpenter with 2:46 remaining.

The teams traded baskets and the lead several times over the next two minutes, before Terrance Breaux hit a short jumper from the lane with 45 seconds left to put the Rams ahead to stay, 92-91.

The Warriors would not score again, and Randallstown sank four of six free throws to seal the win.

"Woodlawn brought their `A' game, but we just happened to have a little more down the stretch," Rivers said. "My hat's off to those guys."

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