The Havre de Grace boys basketball team saw its region title hopes taken away Friday night by the visiting Crisfield Crabbers.
The Crabbers outscored the Warriors, 6–0, over the final minute of play to win the Class 1A East Region title, 72-66. “We didn’t convert on some possessions, I mean we had offensive possessions,” Warriors coach Brian Eberhardt said. “I thought we got the ball in the right guy’s hands, we just didn’t convert.”
The loss ends one of the greatest seasons in boys basketball history at Havre de Grace, ending with a 23-1 record.
Harford Tech, meanwhile, also fell short in its quest to win the a 2A East title. The Cobras (15-9) lost at Wicomico, 67-60.
In Havre de Grace, the game started with Havre de Grace forward Marlon Lewis sinking a pair of free throws, awarded, due to a technical foul assessed in pre-game warm-ups for Crisfield players dunking the ball.
Despite that, the two teams battled back and forth throughout the entire first quarter.
The Warriors led 12-7 early on a pair of Josiah Scott three-point shots and Jordan White also sank a three for the Warriors (up 15-9), who led 17-16 after one quarter.
The battle continued evenly in the second quarter. The Crabbers scored four quick points to slip ahead, 20-17, but three Gary Gibson free throws pulled the Warriors back even.
Christian Crawford’s three put the Crabbers back ahead, 23-22, and it was another three late in the quarter from Ryan Waters that had Crisfield up three, 32-29.
Lewis, though, knocked down his lone three-pointer of the game, to tie the game at 32-all. The game went to the half tied at 32, but with 1:40 left in the half, Crabbers starting guard CorTrey Fontaine picked up his third foul.
Gibson, a Warriors starting guard, also collected his third foul just :26 into the third quarter, but Fontaine picked up his fourth foul less than a minute later.
Warriors forward Quentin Ware scored three straight points to give Havre de Grace a 35-33 lead. Crisfield answered with four unanswered points to retake the lead, 37-35.
A Lewis basket retied the game at 37 and started an 11-0 run by the Warriors. Ware’s jumper made it 42-37 and Crisfield called timeout. White added 1-of-2 free throws to make it 43-37 and Lewis ended the run with a three-point play.
The Warriors lead was nine, 46-37, but the Crabbers were not done. Senior Justin Cohen took over the game for his team. His three-point play snapped the run and led the Crabbers on a 13-4, quarter-ending run.
“He’s [Cohen] a really good player, we tried our best,” Ware said. “He was making the plays and we just tried our best.”
Lewis scored on a second effort to make it 48-40, but Cohen, who scored a game-high 28 points, scored 11 in the quarter to lead the Crabbers back. The quarter ended in a 50-50 tie.
“They went to a man, they went to man-to-man defense and we had a couple turnovers and poor shot selection and that really put them back in it,” Eberhardt said.
The Warriors outscored the Crabbers, 10-5, over the first four minutes of the fourth quarter and led 60-55 on Jayden Hyman’s steal and layup.
Fontaine, who came back in the game with 6:00 to play, scored eight of his 15 points over that span. It was his three-point play that pulled the Crabbers back to within one, 64-63.
Cohen’s two free throws put Crisfield back on top, 65-64, but Gibson answered for Havre de Grace and the Warriors took their last lead, 66-65.
With the game tied at 66 and 54.8 to play, Cohen made two free throws and Crisfield led, 68-66.
Six seconds later, Lewis missed both free throws, but he hustled to get the rebound, only to get called for a charging foul.
A turnover by the Warriors led to another pair of Cohen free throws and a 70-66 lead with 25.3 seconds left. “He’s [Cohen] a player, he’s as advertised. We knew coming in that he’s one of the better players in Maryland and he showed it,” Eberhardt said.
Another turnover led to an easy layup and the game’s final points for Javen Smith (eight points).
Cohen scored 21 of his 28 in the second half, including a perfect night from the free throw line, where he was 13-for-13, including 4-for-4 in the final 54 seconds.
“My team had confidence in me, maybe more than I had in myself,” Cohen said. “This was just like a home crowd, so it was just everybody that helped. This is our first step, we got two more steps after this.”
Lewis finished with a team-high 26 points, while Ware and Gibson added 11 points each. Scott scored 10.
Cobras fall short
“I’m disappointed and I know our guys are disappointed, but like I told them in the locker room after the game, they should walk out of that arena with their heads held high for the effort they gave tonight, and all season long, and for the way they represented Harford Tech this season,” Tech coach Drew Gill said.
Wicomico hit a couple three’s and forced Tech into a couple turnovers in the first quarter, but Khoury Harris, Jalen Dangerfield and Laday Cooper had four points apiece for us in the quarter. Wicomico led, 16-12.
The Indians hit a few more three’s in the second quarter and that coupled with Tech missing some shots they needed to make, sent the Cobras (15-9) to the half, down 11, 36-25.
The Cobras had another really solid quarter in the third as the players showed their toughness and no quit mentality, even after senior captain and point guard Cooper picked up his fourth foul with six minutes left in the third.
Despite that, Tech rallied and scored 20 in the quarter, while holding Wicomico to 12. That cut the lead to three, 48-45, entering the final quarter.
Curtis McKisset Jr. scored six in the quarter and Jamaal Wright, Jr. gave the Cobras great minutes, especially on the defensive end, in Cooper’s absence, according to coach Gill.
“Wicomico hit big shots every time we thought we were finally going to even it or take a lead,” Gill said. They hit a huge shot and we had a couple untimely turnovers late, specifically on two baseline inbounds plays which is on me as the coach to do a better job making sure we’re prepared in that situation.
At one point in the fourth, the Indians stretched the lead to 10, 61-51. Tech cut it back to six with just under four to play, 61-55, but could get no closer.
Dangerfield scored nine points on the quarter and finished with a game-high 24 points.
Harris added 10 points, while Cooper and Curtis McKisset, Jr. scored nine each. TJ Lowery, Jr. added six.
“For me as a first year Head Coach and a first year coach at Tech, I feel like it was truly a blessing. I feel honored to have been given the opportunity to coach such a great group of young men at a great school,” Gill said. “Going to miss our two seniors Jalen and Laday like crazy, but I can’t wait to follow their paths in the future because I know they are both going to do great things both in athletics and more importantly in life.”
Wicomico senior Keshawn Marshall had 16, including four, three’s 3’s. Jaden Baker also scored 16 and Dorian Stevens tallied 13.