Woodlawn boys basketball team celebrates becoming Baltimore County champions (Glenn Graham, Baltimore Sun video)
From the start of the season, Woodlawn boys basketball coach Bobby Richardson saw the potential of something special led by a character group of seniors who have played together since their freshman year.
He calls them “the big three” — Demauri Warren, Rashaud Garrison and Mark Brinkley — and it didn’t take long for freshman Marlon Lewis to join the mix.
In Tuesday night’s Baltimore County championship game against Dundalk, the four took turns making sure the lead the No. 7 Warriors gradually built in the first half would stand.
Brinkley finished with 18 points, Warren had 17 and Garrison and Lewis chipped in 15 each to lead Woodlawn to a 69-61 win over the Owls at Towson University’s SECU Arena.
It’s the ninth Baltimore County championship for the Warriors (20-3) under Richardson, who is in his 22nd year of coaching them, and the team’s first since 2015.
“We talked about what needed to happen today — those guys have been together since JV as freshmen — our big three — really there’s four of them. They did what they had to do. We’re not very big, but we’re very, very tough, we shoot the ball well and we play team defense on a string,” Richardson said.
Woodlawn opened its first double-digit lead in the second quarter and then had its biggest lead at 50-36 when Garrison hit a 3-pointer with 2:43 to play in the third quarter. But the Owls, behind a 21-point effort from Michael Johnson, never quit.
With Johnson opening the fourth quarter with consecutive 3-pointers and then Tayquan Busby scoring on a follow, the Warriors’ lead was cut to 56-51 with 5:36 to play.
Woodlawn was able to clamp down on defense — it held Dundalk without a point for two-plus minutes — and get key baskets from Warren and Brinkley to go with 9-for-12 shooting at the free-throw line to secure the win.
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“We just had to fight hard,” Garrison said. “We beat them in the beginning of the year, so we tried to come with the same mentality — just a regular game and play hard and play together. This is a really special group.”
The teams combined on 21 3-pointers, with the Owls (18-5) accounting for 13 to stay close. Gates Cook opened the game with three straight 3s and finished with 16, while Jaylon Johnson added 14 for Dundalk.
“We played hard for all 32 minutes,” Owls coach Steve Oppenheim said. “Early in the game, we were hitting 3s and matching up with them 3 for 3. And then we’d make little runs, but they came back and were able to answer our shots with their shots.”