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High School sports

Edmondson boys basketball rallies past New Town to reach Class 2A North title game

Through two-plus quarters of Wednesday night’s Class 2A North Section I boys basketball final against host New Town, Edmondson was struggling to find its way.

It became even tougher when the No. 4 Titans came out fast in the second half, building a 13-point lead in their home gym, threatening to pull away for good.

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Instead, the Red Storm, plain and simple, got tough.

Making his first career start, sophomore guard Eontae Nelson scored 19 points and the Red Storm got strong inside play and leadership from senior forward Markus Hocker in the big moments. Edmondson’s confidence grew by the minute, and by game’s end, it pulled away for a shocking 71-60 win over the Titans.

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The No. 6 Red Storm (22-3) will get a third try at No. 1 Patterson, a 73-48 winner over Gwynn Park in the Section II final, this season in the region title game at 5 p.m. Friday. The Clippers last beat Edmondson, 60-52, for the Baltimore City championship Feb. 21.

On Wednesday, two significant second-half stretches – a 22-6 run in the final three minutes of the third quarter and nine straight points after the midway point of the fourth – kept the Red Storm’s season alive.

“I’m so proud of the kids because the played as hard as they could play and they left it all out on the floor,” Edmondson coach Darnell Dantzler said. “Win or lose, our whole thing is to leave it out on the floor. They left it out on the floor and were fortunate to get a win.”

Dantlzer didn’t tell Nelson he would be in the starting lineup until game time so the first-year varsity player wouldn’t get nervous. With the Titans playing zone, his instructions were to shoot the ball. After a couple early misses, Nelson hit his first 3-pointer with 19 seconds left in the first quarter and kept the Red Storm close with two more 3s in the second quarter. When the Red Storm fell behind by 13, he hit another 3 and added a couple free throws, and by the time his fifth 3 went down with 5:16 left to play in the fourth quarter, the score was tied at 51.

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“At first my shots weren’t falling,” Nelson said. “My coach told me to keep shooting, that my shot is going to fall sooner or later, so I kept shooting and started hitting and I was on.”

Strong team defense, five points from Hocker and baskets from Keith Bolden (12 points) and Daniel Frink (15 points) helped fuel the deciding run.

The Titans, who claimed the Baltimore County championship and finished with a 20-2 mark, dealt with foul trouble throughout the game, with standouts Andrew Mills and Maurice Smith spending good chunks of the game on the bench and combining to score just 10 points.

Junior guard Martaz Robinson (20 points) tried to carry the home team with a 3, two free throws and a driving layup to start the fourth quarter, providing a 49-44 advantage. But the Red Storm cranked up their defense and executed on offense to pull away. Edmondson was busy at the free-throw line as well, hitting 17 of 28 attempts, while New Town made only six of 17.

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E – Hocker 11, Bolden 12, Lewis 11, Nelson 21, Frink 14, Jones 2. Totals: 22 18-30 71

NT – Robinson 20, Mills 7, Smith 3, Guerrero 15, Johnson 7, Collins 8. Totals: 22 6-17 60

Half: NT, 20-19


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