Edgewood's boys basketball team sent another Eastern Shore team home last night when it defeated visiting Wicomico, 72-59, for the Class 2A, Region II title and a berth in next week's state championship tournament at Cole Field House.
The top-seeded Rams of Harford County, who advanced to the region final by defeating Stephen Decatur of Worcester County, 78-69, in Monday's semifinal, blew open the game in the third quarter.
After leading at the half, 31-30, Edgewood (21-3) trailed early in the third quarter after an 8-2 run gave the Indians a 38-33 lead.
Not until the Rams started applying some heavy-pressure defense on Wicomico could they make a run at the Indians. Maurice Edison's third basket of the half brought the Rams to within one, and a layup by Dwayne Winder gave the hosts a 40-39 lead.
Then Kenton Worthington stepped up. Edgewood's 6-foot-2 junior forward scored nine straight points to give the Rams a 49-43 lead, forcing Wicomico coach Butch Waller to call timeout.
"In the first half we were are all jittery, but we went into the locker room at halftime and we got relaxed and got ourselves together," said Worthington, who scored 16 of his 18 points after the locker room chat. "They were the No. 2 seed so we knew they were right behind us. We knew we had a good team and we knew we were the best team in the county but, we didn't know how we would do against some of the other schools out there."
Wicomico, which was coming off an 83-65 win over Parkside, never did regain its composure in the third quarter and trailed 54-45 heading into the final eight minutes.
The Indians managed to cut the lead to six early in the fourth quarter on a jumper by Victor Jackson (19 points), but the Rams answered with two quick baskets from Winder. Winder, a 6-foot-3 junior forward, finished with 14 points. McAllister led all scorers with 1.
The lead changed hands six times in the first quarter before the Rams put together a four-point on a steal and a layup by McAllister to take a 14-10 lead at the 3:54 mark. Wicomico closed the period with a layup and four foul shots that gave the Indians a 20-16 lead heading into the second quarter.
"I knew that any team that goes 23-1 is a winning team, and I knew they were going to be there the whole time and play hard and play smart," said Edgewood coach Bob Slagle. We were bigger, and I think overall we were quicker. I was hoping we'd be able to take advantage of those things and were able to."