Class 2A boys

Jackson lifts Rams to victory in final

Free throws, put-back rescue Randallstown in final minute

No. 4 Randallstown 65 Fairmont Heights 60

State basketball championships

March 11, 2007|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Sun reporter

College Park -- Sophomore Alex Jackson dropped in two from the line with a minute left in the game and then made a put-back with 30 seconds on the clock to give Randallstown a four-point lead and ultimate 65-60 win over Fairmont Heights of Prince George's in last night's Class 2A state final at Comcast Center.

"It's Alex's first year with us as a sophomore and he's worked hard to learn our system," said Rams coach Kim Rivers of Jackson, who tied Kim English for team-high scoring honors with 17 points each.

"He is definitely our most improved player."

Jackson said the team really took him in, "everybody [coaches] were like father figures to me and the whole team showed me a lot of love to make it easier."

Randallstown (24-3) gave the Baltimore area its third boys state championship of the day with New Town (1A) and River Hill (3A) having already won. It is the third straight year that the Baltimore area won three of the four titles.

And it was the No. 4 Rams' unprecedented third consecutive title for a Baltimore County boys team and the fifth overall for Rivers (292-46) in 13 seasons. It was Baltimore County's 14th overall since Catonsville first won back in 1928.

The Rams really earned it against the very good Hornets (20-6), who were led by Kendall Durant's game high 20 points. Randallstown led 36-29 at the half and 49-48 after three quarters.

It stayed close the rest of the way and the Rams' Darrell Bryant, the team's leading scorer and rebounder fouled out with about six minutes left with seven points and a game-high eight rebounds.

"It was really tough, knowing it was my last basketball game," said a choked up Bryant in the post-game news conference.

"But I knew the guys would take care of business. I'm going to miss the game a lot and I'm not quite sure I made the right decision."

Bryant has a football scholarship to James Madison as a wide-out.

"This team has character, and different guys step up every night."

Jackson was the man who stepped up last night while another sophomore, William Bennett, did in the semis with 10 points and four steals in a 60-55 victory over Wicomico (23-4). Bennett also had a clutch steal down the stretch last night.

Hornets coach George Wake, who completed his 24th season, said last night was the first time his team fell behind in five playoff games.

"I think our conditioning was a factor down the stretch," said Rivers.

"It's a good feeling to win again and I'm really pleased with the way our team learned from our losses during the season."

The Rams lost two games in the January Basketball Academy in Baltimore, but turned that into a positive.

"We realized then that we were capable of getting beat," said Womack, who scored 10 points and had eight assists.

"And we didn't want it to happen at Comcast."

pat.omalley@baltsun.com

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