After his team lost its opener to Lake Clifton by 33 points last week, Woodlawn coach Bobby Richardson said, despite starting late, his team had to play the schedule presented to it.
If anything, the No. 16 Warriors have benefited. They won the Wes Unseld Holiday Tournament championship last night, defeating No. 7 Randallstown, 68-62, at Catonsville Community College.
Junior forward Damon Garris scored 17 points for Woodlawn (4-1) to earn Most Valuable Player honors for the three-day event. Aaron Ragsdale and Bill Epps each added 12. Brian Darden led Randallstown (6-2) with a game-high 20 points.
With game tied at 58 late in regulation, Woodlawn (4-1) went on an 8-0 run to secure a 66-58 lead and its third Unseld tournament championship since 1992, second only to Broadneck (five), which the Warriors defeated in the semifinals on Friday night.
Derek Foster gave Woodlawn its final lead at 60-58 as he broke behind the Rams' defense for an easy layup with 2: 15 remaining. After three Woodlawn free throws extended the lead to five, Foster had another layup for a 65-58 lead.
"Patience and execution won it for us tonight," said Richardson, who is in his first season. "We didn't want to get into a run-and-gun game with Randallstown. We had to play our game."
The Warriors played mostly in the half-court, but ran when the opportunity presented itself. On numerous occasions last night, they were able to take advantage of defensive lapses by the Rams and turned them into easy layups.
Woodlawn led the entire second half, with its largest margin 51-42. Randallstown finally was able to pull even at 58 on a rebound and jumper by Darden.
After overcoming a 13-point, fourth-quarter deficit against Edmondson in the semifinals on Friday, Randallstown couldn't finish against their rivals, missing its next five attempts, before scoring again with 40 seconds left.
"Woodlawn played a good game tonight, but we beat ourselves," said Randallstown coach Kim Rivers, whose team was seeking its first Unseld title. "Until we start committing to defense, we're going to be a half-meadicore team."
Both teams, considered to be the best in Baltimore County, were finally able to get down to playing basketball after a fire and a brawl involving fans delayed two earlier attempts this month.
The Rams led 9-5 early, but Woodlawn score the next 10 points to take a 15-9 advantage, using four points each from Ragsdale and Billy Epps. The lead was 19-13 at the end of the quarter.
The Warriors extended the lead to 23-15 on a layup by Gabriel Brooks (10 points), then it was Randallstown's turn to make a run.
A layup by T.J. Stallings was followed by alley-oop dunk by Jerry Venable, bringing the Randallstown fans to its feet and drawing the Rams to within 23-19 with 4: 21 remaining in the first half.
The Rams would run off 12 consecutive points, capped by a layup by Chauncey McGee off of a pass from Demon Brown to gain a 27-23 lead with 3: 07 left.
In the consolation game, John Williams scored 27 points to lead No. 13 Broadneck (4-3) past Edmondson, 63-52, in a rematch of (( last year's championship game. Virgil Singleton led Edmondson (2-6) with 23 points.
Singleton joined Garris on the all-tournament team along with Noble Watkins (Broadneck), Stallings and Demon Brown.
Pub Date: 12/29/96