COLLEGE PARK - If there’s a player that exemplified Edmondson boys’ basketball team’s regular season it was Josiah Brown. The 6-foot-4 junior showed his talent in spurts, similar to the Red Storm who were talented, but wildly inconsistent.
In his team’s penultimate game Saturday, Brown finally put it together. And, the Red Storm are state champions.
No. 8 Edmondson defeated seventh-ranked Lake Clifton, 56-48, in the Class 1A state title game at the University of Maryland’s Xfinity Center. Brown and sophomore guard D.J. Dantzler each scored 19 points for the Red Storm.
In an all-Baltimore City title game special, Edmondson (20-7 overall) overtook its East Baltimore rival in the final minutes, ending the Lakers’ three-year run as state champions. It’s the first title for the West Baltimore school since 2014.
Edmondson’s roller coaster-esque season ended on an exhilarating high Saturday.
“We struggled early…we had a freshman and a couple of sophomores starting so we were young,” said Red Storm coach Darnell Dantzler. “We took some losses early in the season, but like I told them, they had to grow up on the job.”
Brown, the only returning starter, struggled most of the regular season. Dantzler decided to move Brown into the top reserve role with Chase Foster, a 6-foot-10 freshman, eligible to play late in the regular season.
Saturday, Brown had his finest moment. He went 9-for-9 from the free throw line (8-for-8 in the fourth quarter), and had 5 rebounds and 2 assists.
“Towards the middle of the season I had some ups-and-downs dealing with some personal issues,” said Brown, who also dealt with a knee injury. “I was getting frustrated with myself, but Coach Darnell always told me to just settle down.”
With game tied at 44, Brown drove into the lane and dished the ball to Foster (14 rebounds), who finished with a dunk with 1:33 left in regulation. After a Lake Clifton turnover, Brown converted two free throws for a 48-44 Red Storm advantage with 35.6 seconds remaining.
He connected on two more free throws, expanding the lead to 50-45 with 25.7 seconds left. Jazae Jones pulled Lake Clifton within a possession at 50-47 with 18.3 seconds to play, but Brown calmly converted a pair of free throws with 16.5 seconds.
Brown snagged Jones’ missed free throw and was fouled with 9.3 seconds remaining. He finished a perfect showing at the charity stripe with two more makes.
Brown put the exclamation point on the title with a dunk as time expired, giving the Red Storm its first victory (five games) over Lake Clifton (22-5) since 2018.
“He stepped when we really needed him to step up,” said Dantzler. “I told him the regular season was over with, bring it home for us.”
Lake Clifton won, 50-46, in East Baltimore back in December, following three victories last season including a 60-46 decision in last year’s 1A state championship match.
The tide finally turned for the Red Storm on Gary Williams Court Saturday in the third quarter. Tied at 33, Edmondson got a 3-pointer from DJ Dantzler, a follow-up from Marcus Jackson and another DJ Dantzler score, this time off a drive straight through the middle of the lane, for a 40-33 advantage.
Lake Clifton answered with a 7-0 run to start the fourth and tied the game. Brown missed a shot, but was able to get his hands back on the ball and produced a 3-point play, giving Edmondson a 44-40 advantage with 4:12 left in regulation.
The Lakers stayed on Edmondson’s heels, closing to one possession three times in the final minute.
Brown and the Red Storm wouldn’t be denied.
“I just told the guys in the locker room, we didn’t lose, we got beat,” said Lake Clifton coach Herman Harried. “My guys played hard and I’m just proud of them.”
Harried, who has won six state titles including one in each classification, presented the state championship trophy to Dantzler.
“That was special,” said Dantzler, a Dunbar graduate who has guided Edmondson to three state titles and a city championship. “Our history of being coaches and a part of Baltimore City basketball, he’s most definitely been a role model for all of us. It meant a lot to me for Tree to hand me the trophy because it solidified we are state champions.”
CLASS 1A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
at University of Maryland
NO. 8 EDMONSON 56, NO. 7 LAKE CLIFTON 48
Edmondson - Brown 19, Dantzler 19, Jackson 6, Foster 4, Davis 3, Sherrod 3, Green 2. Totals 20 12-15 56.
Lake Clifton - Jones 20, Monroe 13, Dorsey 9, Mitchell 4, Nelson 2. Totals 19 7-17 48.
Edmondson 10 16 14 16 - 56
Lake Clifton 10 17 6 15 - 48