Lansdowne leaves past further behind, 71-62

Victory over Edmondson nets rare regional title

Class 2A North boys basketball

High Schools

March 07, 2004|By Mike Frainie | Mike Frainie,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Doug Goff remembers hearing all of the talk when he started as an assistant coach at Lansdowne six years ago.

"I was told that this wasn't a basketball school, and we'd never win," said Goff, now the head coach of the boys team. "I and others were determined to turn that around."

Yesterday, the senior-dominated Vikings used a strong inside game and timely defense to defeat visiting Edmondson, 71-62, and capture the Class 2A North regional championship.

Barry Cornish led the No. 19 Vikings (21-4) with 27 points. Kenny Briggs scored 13 for Edmondson (10-10).

Lansdowne advanced to Friday's state semifinals at the Comcast Center in College Park, where it will face the West winner South Hagerstown of Washington County at 9 p.m.

The much-taller Vikings used the inside play of Cornish (6 feet 5) and Chris Gilliam (6-6) to build a lead that reached as many as 13 points in the first half, but the Red Storm rallied and trailed by only six at the half.

Edmondson controlled play early in the third quarter. Cornish was charged with his fourth foul with 5:06 left in the period, and the Red Storm tied the game at 32 just 18 seconds later on Corday Bethal's jumper.

Lansdowne rallied again and finally tied it at 48 on Greg Brown's three-pointer with 6:54 left in the game. Edmondson regained the lead at 52-50 with 6:02 left on Aaron Anderson's layup, but Lansdowne took the lead for good at 53-52 on an acrobatic three-pointer by John Jarboe.

"John has a lot of courage, and I tell him that if he has his shot, that he should take it," said Goff. "He was falling backward and it was a great shot."

After the Vikings built their lead to 61-54, Edmondson could get no closer than four. Cornish sealed the win with a thundering dunk with less than a second left, touching off an emotional celebration by the Lansdowne faithful.

"This is the first time in 30 years that [Lansdowne has ever won a regional title in basketball]," said Jarboe. "It hasn't sunk in yet, but it's a great feeling."

Cornish, who was injured when the Vikings lost to Southern in last year's regional final, said the victory was especially satisfying for him.

"I felt like I let my teammates down last year," said Cornish, who scored 11 of his points when he had four fouls. "Even with the foul trouble, I wanted to pay them back this year. Now, we're going to the states."

Goff knows he has a tough task ahead of him trying to keep the Vikings focused.

"It's a mental thing," said Goff. "I'm already in their heads about it. The court at the Comcast Center is just like any other court. ... I believe in these kids."

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