Randallstown pulls off repeat feat for crown

Randallstown 64 Wicomico 54

Class 2A Boys basketball

high schools

March 12, 2006|By PAT O'MALLEY | PAT O'MALLEY,SUN REPORTER

College Park -- Coach Kim Rivers and his Randallstown Rams became the first Baltimore County boys basketball team to repeat as a state champion with last night's 64-54 victory over the Eastern Shore's Wicomico in the Class 2A final at Comcast Center.

Randallstown gave the Baltimore metro area three of the four state champions for the second year in a row, with Dunbar (1A) and Long Reach (3A) winning earlier in the day. Randallstown and Dunbar are repeat champions.

It was the fourth state title overall and the third since 2001 for the No. 2 Rams (26-1), all with Rivers, who finished his 12th season. The Rams' "big three," as Rivers likes to call senior Johnny Higgins and juniors Lyndon Jones and Darrell Bryant, combined for 48 points, and 6-foot-9 shot-blocking senior Paul Kirkpatrick came up big late.

As a result, the Rams were able to hold off a scoring surge by 6-2 junior A.J. Spencer, who had 13 of his game-high 25 points for the Indians (24-4) in the last eight minutes. With Higgins getting his fourth foul late in the third quarter, Bryant and Jones made key plays.

"Spencer is a great player, but he doesn't have the help I have," Higgins said. "I told him [Spencer] to keep his head up afterwards."

Wicomico pulled within 55-52 on a leaner by Spencer with 2:41 remaining. Bryant scored five of his points in the last two minutes and Jones' dunk off a steal at midcourt gave the Rams a 62-54 lead with just under a minute left. The 6-2 Jones closed the scoring with another dunk at the buzzer.

"It was a great game and our kids played with poise," said Rivers, who lost five of his top six players from his 3A state champions but will return nine from this team. "We knew sooner or later they would give us a run. Our big three has been carrying us all year. And we shot our free throws a lot better than [Friday]. The extra work paid off."

The Rams were 16-for-32 from the free-throw line in their 62-42 win over Potomac in the semifinals. They made 13 of 18 yesterday.

It was also a special win because Rivers' nephew and former player Timothy Morris died in January, and the coach credited assistant coach William Wiley and his staff for running things when he took some time off.

"This was a special group and they understood what Coach was going through," Wiley said.

Wicomico coach Butch Waller completed his 40th season and is pondering retirement. Waller got his 580th career win in the semifinals over Winters Mill and has won one state title, in 2002.

patomalleysports@aol.com

W-Bright 11, Johnson 2, Spencer 25, Dennis 4, Miles 2, Matthews 6, Edwards 4. Totals: 22 5-9 54. R-Higgins 17, L. Jones 16, Bryant 15, Kirkpatrick 5, Jefferson 1, Womack 8, Dorsey 2. Totals: 23 13-18 64. Half: R 39-27.

Class 4A

Walt Whitman 39, Eleanor Roosevelt 38 -- Darnell Dodson's shot at the buzzer hit the right side of the cylinder and bounced away as Walt Whitman (24-3) of Montgomery County stunned Eleanor Roosevelt (25-2)in the Class 4A final at the Comcast Center.

ER-Dodson 6, Prewitt 2, McDonald 4, Ntoko 12, Morris 9, Hawkins 5. Totals 16 4-9 38. WW-Gruner 23, White 2, Fitzpatrick 8, Ngunjiri 4, Lee 2. Totals 15 5-8 39. Half: ER, 19-13.

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