Hornets find own bond, win first ti­tle in 36 years

FAIRMONT HEIGHTS 65, ED­MOND­SON-WEST­SIDE 52

The Washington Post Sunday - - ALLMETSPORTS.COM - BY JOSHUA NEEDELMAN joshua.needelman@wash­post.com

The shock had not yet worn off from Fairmont Heights’ first state cham­pi­onship win in 36 years, but Coach Chuck Henry was try­ing to put every­thing in per­spec­tive Satur­day af­ter­noon.

He thought back to Feb. 18, when the Hornets hon­ored that 1981 state cham­pi­onship team, and how two hours later the old team­mates were still out in the park­ing lot jok­ing and rem­i­nisc­ing. Henry wanted that for his Hornets.

“Many of them won’t go on to col­lege to play bas­ket­ball, but the mem­o­ries that we build, and the bonds that we build is more im­por­tant than any­thing in the world,” Henry said. “I al­ways tell the guys, ‘It’s not about you. It’s about the peo­ple around you.’ ”

As the buzzer sounded on Fairmont Heights’ 65-52 win over Ed­mond­son-West­side in the Mary­land 1A state fi­nal at Xfin­ity Cen­ter, the Hornets play­ers crowded to­gether and bounced at cen­ter court.

Ed­mond­son-West­side (16-6) led by nine in the first quar­ter, but Fairmont Heights rode stingy de­fense and hot shoot­ing to a his­tory-mak­ing af­ter­noon in front of a swarm of ma­roon-clad sup­port­ers.

Henry “will be like, ‘Fairmont, we got to build the legacy back. We go­ing to be the team that put Fairmont back on the map,’ ” said Year­lando Reed, who fin­ished with a team-high 17 points. “And we did it to­day.”

It took some time for the Hornets to get rolling. They shot 1 for 6 from three-point range in the first quar­ter and at one point trailed 10-1.

Reed led the charge back. He tied the score at 21 with a three-pointer early in the sec­ond, and Fairmont Heights (17-8) trailed just 30-28 at half­time.

De­fen­sively, the Hornets forced turnovers with a full-court press and forced dif­fi­cult shots by pack­ing the paint. They dared the Red Storm to take jumpers, and the gam­ble paid off as the mo­men­tum shifted in the third quar­ter.

But a win would not come eas­ily — not after 36 years of wait­ing. Guard Dar­ren Lucas-White, who recorded 15 points and four steals, came down hard after charg­ing the paint.

He held on to his right wrist and was helped to the bench, a scowl stretch­ing across his face. As Lu­casWhite slogged to the back for med­i­cal at­ten­tion with his gaze fixed down­ward, Reed stepped into a three­p­ointer to put Fairmont Heights up 41-38.

Reed earned praise from Henry for his at­ti­tude de­spite com­ing off the bench.

The ju­nior knocked down an­other long ball in the game’s fi­nal min­utes, es­sen­tially putting the game out of reach.

After ad­dress­ing the me­dia, Reed stood in an Xfin­ity Cen­ter hall­way with a gold medal dan­gling from his neck. He looked down at the game ball in his hands.

“This is a state cham­pi­onship,” Reed said. “We get a ring. We get ban­ners. This is love.”

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