Before the season started, Edgewood coach Bob Slagle said he had 14 players he wanted to be interchangeable.
Substituting liberally through this weather-interrupted winter, the Rams won 10 of their first 14 games.
His latest combination might be around awhile. A revamped starting lineup whipped Bel Air on Tuesday night, and yesterday afternoon at the Arena, the Harford County team did it again, shooting 66 percent from the field and using solid defense to run away from Hammond (6-10) at the Fuel Fund Classic, 73-36.
"We didn't play well against Fallston [a 77-52 loss two weeks ago, and Edgewood's only loss in its last eight games], so I made some changes," said Slagle about inserting junior guards Mike Baldwin and Chris Finlay into the starting five.
"This unit [which includes regulars Alfred McAllister, Dwayne Winder and Eric Briggs] has played very well the last two games. They set the pace. Now, when the others come off the bench, they have to play at that pace."
That pace was an up-tempo game, featuring, as Hammond coach Jack Burke saw it, "height, quickness, and athleticism. They had people going to the boards, convinced they were going to get the rebounds."
Combine that with "the venue and the magnitude of the game, and I think it got to us. We start two sophomores and this is tough for 15-year-olds," he said.
It wasn't supposed to be that way, but three players Burke planned on showcasing with a tough schedule wound up at other schools this year, and a team in which only two seniors see any appreciable playing time is paying the price.
Adding to this plight was the loss of tri-captain Irving Conwell, a 14.6 scorer and 9.1 rebounder, due to a school problem.
"Without Irving, Devon [Montoute, a 6-foot-2 junior] has to do some things he is not used to doing -- playing the middle instead of on a wing -- and our overall defense is based on certain things and Irving is a part of them," Burke said.
This one started to get out of hand in the second quarter, when Edgewood opened a 28-16 margin on a 12-4 run featuring three-point goals by Finlay and Baldwin.
Hammond got the first basket of the third quarter and another less than two minutes later, but these would be the only Golden Bears points until a three-point buzzer-beater by sophomore Tim Spruil.
Edgewood finished with 10 scorers, led by Briggs, a 6-4 junior, with 18 points and nine rebounds, and 6-5 senior backup Julius Christy, who had 15 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots.
* Lake Clifton 94, Patterson 65: Junior forward Reggie Frazier scored 25 points and Terrance Payne added 18 and 10 rebounds, leading No. 4 Lake Clifton (13-6, 7-4) over Patterson in a Baltimore City 4A League game at the Baltimore Arena.
Shawnta Rogers added 17 points and five assists. Colin Jones led Patterson (6-10, 2-7) with 17 points.