A defensive quagmire turned into a jubilant finish for the Edgewater Eagles girls basketball team, which won the state championship 46-36 over Miami Norland on Feb. 25.
Markeema Crawford’s heroics from beyond 3-point range helped lift her team after a stagnant first half had the Eagles with only 13 points by halftime.
The game was looking to be a state record low-scoring affair before Crawford’s second half surge sent the score soaring for the Eagles, as she rained down 15 points of her own to lead the team to victory. The Eagles would outscore the Vikings 33-16 in the second half of the game.
Despite the turnaround in the second half, the game remained a defensive one. On the season this was the second-lowest scoring win the Eagles had, eclipsed only by the 39 points they scored against Hawaii’s Konawaena in the Nike Tournament of Champions.
The girls had made a name for themselves in a wild run through the playoffs, blowing out their first three opponents in the region by more than double their opponents’ combined scores. In the regional championship they scored 94 points to Gainesville’s 61 to take that championship.
The state title, against the former back-to-back 2009 and 2010 state champion Vikings, was the first state championship for the current crop of lady Eagles, and the second in team history. Their only other state championship, in 2007, also was against the Vikings.
Things weren’t quite so sunny for the Edgewater boys team, who saw a Cinderella story go pumpkin on them in the final seconds of their regional championship matchup against Leesburg.
The 54-53 loss would come down to a final free throw shot that went Leesburg’s way, ending the Eagles’ game with one shot.
The Eagles had shocked the state after going 1-22 last season, turning around and going on a 19-11 run on their way through the playoffs. One of the worst teams in the state last year, the Eagles soared into the regional championship game on a string of wins.
The final game was a team effort for the Eagles, who spread the scoring around, led by Josh Howard with 12 points.