By Glenn Graham, The Baltimore Sun
10:22 PM EDT, March 15, 2013
If you first don't succeed, try again. And then, if needed, try yet again.
The Edmondson boys basketball had the final possession at the end of regulation and again in the first overtime with the score tied against Oakdale, from Frederick County, but the No. 5 Red Storm was unable to convert the needed points that would send it to the Class 2A state title game.
In the same spot in the second overtime, Edmondson senior guard Darius Walker changed the plan.
Once again appearing to hold the ball for the final shot, Walker attacked the basket earlier than expected, hitting a running layup with 31 seconds left to give the Red Storm a two-point lead. After Darrius Hubbard tied up Oakdale's Zach Thomas to cause a traveling violation, Walker closed out the game with two free throws in the final seconds, giving Edmondson a thrilling 60-56 double overtime win at the University of Maryland's Comcast Center.
The past four boys basketball state champions in the Class 2A have come from the North region and, more specifically, Baltimore City.
Edmondson, which was eliminated in each of the past four years in the North regional final to those eventual state champions, hopes to become the fifth. The Red Storm (21-5) takes on the Calvert-Wicomico winner in the title game at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Walker's poise at the free-throw line made sure the Red Storm got there.
"When I went to the line, I was nervous knowing if I didn't hit them, they would still have a chance to come back the way they were shooting," Walker said. "But after I hit the last one, it took a lot of pressure off."
Walker finished with a team-high 19 points, while Myrek Fowlkes, who played a big role in Patterson's first state title last year before transferring to Edmondson, added 13.
The Red Storm's starting five are all seniors — Isaiah Tripp and Jaquan Smith the others — and coach Darnell Dantzler couldn't say enough about the group.
"My seniors, they're battle tested and I'm just happy for them. We put ourselves in position to win our first state championship, and that's what it's all about," he said. "So for them, it means a lot. And it means a lot for the school, a lot for the community, and I'm just proud that they've been playing as hard as they can."
The Red Storm tied the game at 52 with 4:11 to play in the fourth quarter when Isaiah Tripp scored on a layup.
After Edmondson got the ball back with more than three minutes to play, the Red Storm held the ball for the last shot. Walker drove to the basket, but his shot was blocked with six seconds left.
In the first overtime, after both teams exchanged baskets to make it 54-54, the Red Storm again held the ball for the final 1:42 before Tripp couldn't finish a drive.
Four of Edmondson's five losses this season have been by three points and the other one came in double overtime.
"We've had some crucial, tough losses, and today is a tough win. We take the good with the bad. We lost early and hopefully that will prepare us for the game tomorrow. And it helped us in that we didn't lose our composure today," Dantzler said.
The Red Storm players, more drained than excited after the win, understand there is still work to do.
"I just feel that we should correct the mistakes that we had today. Pick up more intensity, play together and we'll come out with a win," Hubbard said.
The Bears (20-4) got 20 points from Thomas, with Jonathan Hoyle hitting three of four 3-pointers to finish with 10.
Edmondson 60, Oakdale 56 (2 OT)
E – Fowlkes 13, Tripp 10, Hubbard 8, Walker 19, McClain 2, Coles 1, Lloyd 3, Smith 4. Totals: .
O – Bush 5, Heine 9, Hoyle 10, Thomas 20, Conner 9, Simpson 3. Totals: 19 9-15 56.
Half: O, 27-26
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