Last night's Howard County girls basketball championship at River Hill had all the trappings of a prime-time event - a huge crowd, a DJ and rowdy visiting fans.
Thanks to Keisha Eaddy, it also had a prime-time player.
The Temple-bound senior scored 15 of her game-high 21 points in the first half as host and No. 8 River Hill ran away with the county title, 66-47, over No. 11 Atholton. She added 11 rebounds and six steals. Junior Kelsey Erdman contributed 17 points for the Hawks (23-0, 19-0).
"We've won this title my three previous years, and I had to keep the legacy going," Eaddy said. "It was our goal to play with fire and enthusiasm, and that's exactly what we did."
The Hawks used crisp passing and timely foul shooting to run out to a 9-2 lead with 4:12 left in the first quarter. Their aggressive style saddled Raiders guard Kayla Desportes with two fouls in the early minutes and took the Raiders (18-5, 15-4) out of their game.
"That was the plan," said Hawks coach Teresa Waters. "We were used to playing in front of a large crowd, and we wanted to set the tone early."
Atholton, on field goals by Elie Snyder and Taylor Chapman, cut the lead to 15-8 with 1:34 left in the first quarter. Then Eaddy scored River Hill's next 12 points to make the score 27-12 with 6:09 left in the half and put the game out of reach.
"She makes things happen," said Waters. "She creates so much of our offense. That's why she'll do well at the next level."
The Hawks will advance to the regional playoffs as the top seed, and will hope to avenge their loss in last year's Class 3A state semifinals to Milford Mill.