No. 20 Edmondson turns back Allegany for 1A state boys' basketball state final berth; Gardner and Dean combine for 27 (VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS HERE!!)
Edmondson High boys' basketball went somewhat unnoticed during the regular season. Now, the Red Storm are on the verge of another state championship.
No. 20 Edmondson defeated Allegany, 59-52, in a Class 1A state final four contest at the University of Maryland's Xfinity Center. Sophomore guard Teon Gardner finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists for the Red Storm, and Dontaz Dean added 13.
The west Baltimore school did just enough things over the final eight minutes to advance Saturday's title match against Fairmont Heights in College Park at 1 p.m. Fairmont Heights from Prince George's County defeated Kent County in the other state 1A semifinal Friday.
The Red Storm will join Patterson (2A) and Poly (3A) on the "big floor" Saturday at the University of Maryland. Poly started the season ranked No. 2 in the area (currently 4th) and was the team to beat in the city league's Division I, while Patterson held the No. 1 ranking for two weeks and won the city title.
Edmondson, despite winning two state titles over the last five seasons, wasn't ranked in the preseason. Other than an one-week appearance in VSN Top 20, the Red Storm didn't garner much fanfare.
Red Storm coach Darnell Dantzler wasn't bothered one bit.
"I like the underdog role and that means we got to come out hungry," said Dantzler. "What that also means no one is going to give you anything. The respect we get we have to earn it and I have no problem taking that respect."
"We've been doubted all year," said Dean.
Dean, a senior, is part of a roster that marticulated through the Red Storm junior varsity program that's played in the last six city league Division I finals. The group, playing in its first state final four, was steady and composed Friday as Edmondson trailed only after the opening basket.
Edmondson led 23-13 in the first half after back-to-back 3-pointers from Dean. Allegany closed to 34-33 late in the third, but Edmondson immediately answered with a jumper from Frankye Duckett.
The Red Storm pushed the lead to 46-37 early in the fourth after a jumper from DeShawn Ruffin. Edmondson comfortably played in a halfcourt chess game, occassionally throwing a halfcourt press defense to create transition opportunities.
"Once you to get to Xfinity [Center], I always teach the kids you got to play two different styles," said Dantzler. "You can play run-and-gun, but you have to run more sets, swing the ball, run your plays all the way through. When you get to the final four, you're playing the best teams in the state and there's different scenarios."
Allegany closed to 52-49 after Triston Elrich's 3-pointer with 1:55 left in regulation. Edmondson, which was out-rebounded, 41-30, was able to close ranks in the paint and convert five-of-eight free throws.
Justin Copman finished with a double-double, 14 points and 14 rebounds for Allegany, which struggled from the 3-point line. The western Maryland squad shot a dismal 4-of-26 from behind the arch, missing 17 of 18 entering the fourth quarter.
"The guys played well inside, it was just a bad shooting night," said Campers coach Toby Eirich. "We don't typically shoot that many 3-pointers, but that's what they were giving us."
Dantzler, who's guided Edmondson to two state titles and a city title after coaching and playing at Dunbar, said the tough city league slate prepares them for the state final four. Saturday, the Red Storm hopes to capture a state title along with Poly and Patterson.
The last time Baltimore City won three state titles in the same year was 2012 (Patterson - 3A; Lake Clfiton - 2A and Dunbar - 1A.
"My hats goes off to the kids," said Dantzler. "I always tell them it's not where you start, it's what you do in the middle and where you finish."
Class 1A state semifinal
at University of Maryland
No. 20 Edmondson 59, Allegany 52
Edmondson - Farabee 4, Morton 7, Dean 13, Gardner 14, Duckett 5, Ruffin 9, Fernandez 4, Neverdon 3. Totals 19 16-26 59.
Allegany - Jessie 10, Barmore 6, Elrich 5, Bratton 2, Rhodes 13, Magee 2, Copman 14. Totlas 17 14-18 52.
Edmondosn 17 10 14 18 - 59
Allegany 13 11 10 18 - 52
Last Updated (Monday, 13 March 2017 10:12)