Edmondson and visiting Lake Clifton were tied going into the fourth quarter with a berth in the Baltimore City boys basketball championship in the balance Thursday.
If the host Red Storm were feeling any pressure, it didn’t show.
No. 8 Edmondson made the big plays on defense, controlled the boards and aggressively attacked the basket, scoring ten straight points to take hold of the game and fending off the No. 6 Lakers’ late rally for a 73-67 win.
Edmondson improved to 17-2 overall and clinched the league’s A Division with a 7-0 mark, handing Lake Clifton (15-3, 6-1) it first league loss.
The Red Storm will meet No. 2 Patterson, which clinched the B Division, for the city title at 7 p.m. on Feb. 21 at Morgan State. In their Dec. 17 regular-season meeting, Patterson claimed a 74-63 win at Edmondson.
Trailing for most of Thursday’s game, the Red Storm were able to hang tough and then take over. In the pivotal 10-0 run, the home team got two fast-break baskets from Tre’Shawn Lewis and a key midcourt steal and layup from Eontae Nelson to claim a 66-56 advantage. After the Lakers got a three-point play from senior Armon Harried to cut the lead to 70-67 with 22 seconds left, the Red Storm answered with Keith Bolden also converting a three-point play with 10 seconds to go.
Marcus Hocker dominated stretches at both ends, scoring six of his 24 points in the fourth quarter and adding 13 rebounds for the Red Storm.
“It was tough, man — a lot of dedication from our guys,” Hocker said. “We just went hard — that’s all we do, go hard every time we’re in our gym. We don’t let anybody come in our gym and let them take it over. It feels good, amazing to come through this in our gym.”
Edmondson had a lot to overcome.
Harried started fast offensively with 10 of his 24 points coming in the first quarter, and his 3-pointer with 2:09 left in the first half gave the Lakers a 35-25 lead.
But the Red Storm made the most of the remaining time until the break with Bolden scoring on a follow and adding a 3-pointer and Hocker converting a three-point play to cut the Lakers’ lead to 37-33 at the break.
The game was tight throughout the third quarter. The lead changed hands four times before Lake Clifton’s Dreshawn Hodges hit a 3 at the buzzer to tie the game at 51.
In the end, the Red Storm’s aggressiveness and confidence on their home floor won out. The last pivotal play — Hocker pulling down a tough defensive rebound and sending a long outlet pass for Bolden to finish — was the biggest indicator.
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“Down the stretch, we played well and played hard at both ends of the floor and rebounding,” Edmondson coach Darnell Dantzler said. “I like the simple fact that they never got down. They’ve been in these situations before. Basketball is about runs and making sacrifices by doing the little things. So we were able to get our hands on a couple deflections on the defensive end, get a couple rebounds and Marcus came up big on both ends of the floor.”
In addition to Harried’s fine play, the Lakers got 22 points from Michael Gray.
“Edmondson played well and we picked the wrong game to not to play as well as we’ve played all season. I think they just made shots [at the end] and we didn’t,” Lake Clifton coach Herman ‘Tree’ Harried said.