Incredible finishes, dominating performances, outstanding individual achievements, improbable upsets. Covering boys lacrosse, boys basketball, and boys and girls soccer was a special treat that brought plenty of those things in a memorable 2013.
In Part Two of my 2013 recap, here's a look at some of the best single-game performances of the year:
Most dramatic finishes
No. 1 McDonogh boys soccer team edges No. 2 St. Paul's, 1-0, in final minute to claim the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference crown
The Eagles were looking to complete their first unbeaten season and claim the program's seventh league championship, but they knew it wouldn't be easy. The upstart Crusaders handed McDonogh its only blemish when the teams' tied, 3-3, in double overtime in the final week of the regular season.
Still scoreless with less than a minute to play in the title game, sophomore central defender Michael DeShields pushed up after the Eagles earned a corner kick. Senior George Campbell's service into the middle found DeShields, who emphatically headed home the game-winning goal with 10 seconds to play.
Edmondson boys basketball team edges Wicomico, 56-54, in the Class 2A state championship game
After Wicomico tied the score at 54, Edmondson coach Darnell Dantzler called timeout and told senior captain Darius Walker the ball (and game) was going to be in his hands. Walker responded with a driving left-handed bank shot that went in as time expired to give the Red Storm its first state championship.
Walker was in a similar situation in Edmondson's 74-73 loss to Dunbar in the Baltimore City Division I title game the previous month and decided to pull up for a 3-pointer. He took that into account when he decided to drive for the game-winning basket in the state title win.
Most improbable upset wins
Mount Carmel boys basketball team shocks No. 1 St. Frances in BCL quarterfinals
Quite frankly, St. Frances was on a dominating roll in the 2012-13 season. The Panthers, ranked No. 1 in the area for much of the season, had just soundly defeated Mount St. Joseph, 75-62, to win the MIAA A Conference championship. Next up was the Baltimore Catholic League crown.
It wasn't to be. Mount Carmel, seeded eighth after finsihing 1-13 in BCL play during the regular season, had other ideas.
The Cougars went to St. Frances and grinded out a shocking, 59-50, quarterfinal round win to avenge two regular-season lossess and move on to the next round. Mount St. Joseph would go on to win the BCL crown.
Oakland Mills boys soccer shocks four-time defending state champion Marriotts Ridge
On its way to four straight Class 2A state championships, Marriotts Ridge most always had the toughest tests getting out of its South region playing against fellow Howard County opponents.
This season, looking to set a new state record with five straight state championships, the Mustangs hit a stunning road block in the regional semifinals when Oakland Mills pulled out a thrilling, 3-2 overtime win.
The Scorpions never led during regulation. With the game tied at 1 and looking like it would be headed into overtime, Marriotts Ridge senior captain Amir Najib headed home the potential game-winning goal with under one minute to play.
But 30 seconds later, Garrett Sinclair headed home a tying goal just before the final whistle blew in the second half. John Caldwell scored four minutes into overtime to send the Scorpions on to the next round, while the Mustangs' fine season came to an abrupt and disappointing end.
Most dominating performance in a game
The McDonogh girls soccer team handles rival Spalding, 5-0, in regular season
The Eagles had plenty of motivation for their Oct. 8 showdown against their biggest rival. They had this game marked on their calendar since falling to the Cavaliers in the previous year's interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championship game -- surrendering a late tying goal before losing on penalty kicks.
Adding fuel was a stunning loss to John Carroll the week before that shook up The Baltimore Sun's Top 15 poll. McDonogh was now No. 2 and Spalding No. 1.
The Eagles didn't like that. Playing with high emotion and channeling it into positive energy, they played 80 minutes of excellent soccer to come away with a stunning result. McDonogh reclaimed the No. 1 ranking and went on to defeat Spalding again in the IAAM championship game, 2-1.