Maryland 3A Girls' Final

River Hill Caps a Perfect Season

By Jon Gallo
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 12, 2006

CATONSVILLE, Md., March 11 -- River Hill senior guard Keisha Eaddy sported an ear-to-ear grin and teammates stormed the court Saturday night when the buzzer sounded on a 51-46 victory over Western that closed an undefeated season with the school's first Maryland 3A title.

"I've dreamed about wining state titles, but it never felt as good as this," Eaddy said. "We won the game and we're undefeated -- does it get any better than that?"

Eaddy posted a game-high 20 points and six steals for the seventh-ranked Hawks (28-0), and senior forward Cari Haas scored 13 of her 15 points in the final quarter to spearhead a comeback over Western (26-2) at UMBC's RAC Arena.

The Hawks set a school record for wins and became the first Howard County girls' team to win a state championship since Glenelg won the 1A title in 2001.

"All that I'll remember about playing at River Hill is my last game, because that's all that matters," said Eaddy, who will play for Temple next season. "It's all about how you go out. And my team and I are leaving here as champions."

In each of the past four seasons, River Hill has lost in the postseason to the eventual state champion, and it at one point appeared that streak would continue.

River Coach Teresa Waters called timeout after the Hawks missed three layups and two free throws and were trailing 38-32 with 5 minutes 49 seconds left.

The Hawks responded with an 11-3 run in which Haas maneuvered around one defender for a layup, hit a 15-foot jump shot and then swished a three-pointer with 2:30 left to give her team a 43-41 lead.

River Hill stopped Western on its next possession and got the ball to Haas, who drew a foul and made two free throws to make it 45-41.

Western senior forward Zhondria Benn, who will play for Georgetown next year, was on the bench for much of the game because of foul trouble, but scored five points in the fourth quarter. She finished with nine. Akeema Richards's layup with 28 seconds left pulled the Doves to within 47-46.

River Hill's Allison Geoghan then missed the front end of a one-and-one, but Western was called for traveling on its ensuing possession and Haas converted two free throws to make it 49-46 with 14 seconds left. Eaddy then stole the ball around mid-court and scored a layup while being fouled to send River Hill's bench and fans into a frenzy.

"No matter how much we were down, we always believed we were going to win," Haas said. "After all we have been through, I can't think of a better way for us to go out."

No. 7 River Hill 51, Western 46 Key Run: Trailing 38-32 with 5:49 left, River Hill ended the game on a 19-8 run. For The Books: River Hill earned its first state title in girls' basketball and became the first Howard County team to win a 3A title in girls' basketball since Howard in 1994.

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