COLLEGE PARK -- One team was going for a fourth straight state championship and sixth overall. The other was going for its first.
One team was used to playing at Comcast Center, home of the boys basketball state championships. The other had played there once, in 2006, and lost in the semifinals.
But No. 12 Winters Mill, the team that was given little chance of winning the championship, worked a bit harder, upsetting No. 2 Randallstown, 54-47, yesterday at Comcast Center to win the Class 2A state title.
"I told the kids, you're not going to prove to anybody that you can play by saying 'Yeah we can play,' " Falcons coach David Herman said. "You've got to go beat good teams. ... These guys took up the challenge, and ... they won."
The title was the first for the Falcons (21-6). They're the second Carroll County team to win the state championship. The first was Westminster in 1947.
The loss kept Randallstown (24-4) from becoming the third school to win four straight state titles. Fairmont Heights and Dunbar are the others.
The game was wire tight. There were five lead changes and four ties, and neither team led by more than seven points.
Both teams played tough man-to-man defense in the first half, which ended with Winters Mill leading 19-18.
Going into the final quarter, the score was tied at 33. Randallstown switched to a full-court, man-to-man press, but Winters Mill was able to break it and get to the free-throw line, helping it pull away.
Winters Mill played stout defense, holding Randallstown to 17-for-50 shooting. The Falcons also out-rebounded the Rams, 36-29. As close as the game was, Winters Mill never trailed in the fourth quarter.
Cammeron Woodyard had 13 points, nine rebounds and five steals for Winters Mill, and Rashad Blackwell chipped in 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Alex Jackson led the Rams with 17 points and six rebounds, and Tione Womack had 13 points.
Even though the Rams didn't get their fourth straight title, for coach Kim Rivers, the progress the team has made off the court is much more important.
"They taught me a lot about why I'm involved in coaching," Rivers said of his team. "It's about teaching these kids. It's about character. ...
"These guys grew up, and I'm very proud of them."