April 26, 2018

Teon Gardner leads Edmondson past No. 23 Milford Mill

Milford Mill forward Eric Turner attempts to disrupt a shot by Edmondson's Teon Gardner during a game on Saturday, January 13, 2018 at Morgan State University. Austin McFadden/MSA.

If the Edmondson boys’ basketball team wants to make it back to College Park’s XFINITY Center for its fourth state title game in six years this March, two factors will likely decide those aspirations: Teon Gardner’s production and this last month of the regular season.

Gardner is the lone returning starter from a 20-6 team that fell short to Fairmont Heights in the Class 1A title game last season, and Coach Darnell Dantzler isn’t shy about his expectations. The Red Storm’s 12-man roster also comprises of seven underclassmen, with Gardner’s backcourt mate Antonio Figgins experiencing his first varsity season as a sophomore. 

On Friday night, Edmondson slipped to 4-3 after a two-point loss to Oxon Hill, but responded on Saturday with what Dantzler termed as an “A-plus effort,” as the Red Storm overcame a 10-point halftime deficit to defeat Milford Mill, 53-50, in the Baltimore City Public Schools Basketball Academy at Morgan State University’s Hill Field House.

Gardner did just about everything asked of him, finishing with a team-high 18 points, spearheading a disruptive press and zone defense, and then topping it off with the game-clinching free throws with 3.6 seconds left.

“That’s what I need him to do,” Dantzler said. “He’s been doing real well. He had a real good game on both ends of the floor, and that’s what I told him. I need him to play like more often. He needs to be a leader. Not only is he our leader on the football field as the quarterback, but I need him to be that leader on the basketball court as well. He stepped up and played well today.”

Edmondson started in a 1-2-2 zone defense and also used the formation in a press, which flustered Milford Mill in the early minutes. The Millers’ missed their first three shots and turned it over three times in their opening six possessions.

The Red Storm also used a 2-2-1 zone press and implemented a half-court trap out of the halftime break in which they trailed, 34-24. Jordan Goodwin scored 11 points in the first quarter for Milford Mill, but only managed eight the rest of the way. He still finished with a game-high of 19.

The Red Storm started the comeback with a 6-0 spurt to open the second half, backended by a Barry Jones layup in traffic, which cut the Millers’ lead to 34-30.

Gardner then upstarted an 11-3 run to conclude the third quarter with a deep 3 from the left wing, making it 37-33 and putting Edmondson ahead, 41-40. The 6-foot-3 junior guard then nailed an elbow jumper to tie it at 39-39 and Figgins put Edmondson ahead going into the fourth with a mid-range of his own, 41-40.

Then, when the Millers continued to lurk, Gardner and Figgins (seven points) came through with clutch baskets and free throws.

In the first half, Milford Mill knocked down five 3s, but failed to hit a trey in the final two quarters. Keith Bolden and DeShawn Ruffin added 12 and seven points for the Red Storm, respectively.

“The press pretty much slowed them down,” Dantzler said. “They were shooting the ball well in the first half. So, at halftime we made a couple of adjustments and it came out the way we wanted. We changed it to a trap, got a couple steals and slowed them down.”

Dantzler guided the Red Storm to a Class 2A title in 2013 and then a Class 1A title in 2014. Last year, Edmondson led Fairmont Heights by two at halftime, but a cold second half in which it shot 27.6 percent from the floor (8-for-29), including a 2-for-11 from deep in the fourth quarter, sent another ring down the drain. In that 65-52 loss, Gardner put up a team-high 18 points on 4-for-7 from deep. He also played the most (32 minutes) out of anyone on his team that game. In the 59-52 semifinal win over Allegany, Gardner posted 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists. In those two games, Gardner played the most minutes (30.0 average) on his team and will look to use his experience to guide this group back to glory.

“Everybody got heart. Everybody play hard,” Gardner said. “I think this team is better. We’re young, but this team got a lot of heart.”

The Red Storm, moved up to the Class 2A North Section I this year, are now 5-3, with wins against Southwestern, Green Street Academy, Atholton, City College and now Milford Mill. Their only three setbacks are a 13-point loss to Lake Clifton, which is in the 2A North Section II, St. Joe’s (N.Y.) and Oxon Hill, a 3A South team from Prince George’s County.

Marquee games against ranked Poly and Patterson, which is also in the Class 2A North, await in the final month of the regular season.

“We have growing pains. They’re going to look well like they did today, and they’re going to make mistakes as well,” Dantzler said. “I’ll give them an A-plus on this one. I’m just happy that we can out come through adversity after a tough loss yesterday. And for them to come back and play well against a well-coached Milford team, my hat goes off to the kids, and that’s exactly what I told them after the game.”

About Kyle McFadden 416 Articles
Kyle McFadden is a graduate from Linganore High School's Class of 2014, a sports junkie and general news-hound. He got his start as a sports writer in January 2014 for Linganore's student-run newspaper The Lance, where he wrote 13 articles. McFadden then launched his own blog in October 2014 called The Beltway Dispatch covering collegiate, local high school and professional sports. Formally known as The Beltway Dispatch, McFadden and Evan Engelhard merged respective platforms in June 2015 to make what is now Maryland Sports Access. With baseball, basketball and golf experience, McFadden brings ample knowledge to the helm of MSA. McFadden covers a wide variety of sports in football, baseball, basketball, golf, hockey, lacrosse, soccer and specializes in the collegiate and high school levels. McFadden volunteers his time at Damascus Road Community Church -- serving as a mentor to the youth, basketball coach at the varsity and junior varsity levels, and leads a small group of high school sophomores every Wednesday night. Although he's only been around journalism since January 2014, he's a high school sports reporter for The Baltimore Sun and freelancer for The Frederick News-Post. McFadden's work has also appeared in DMV newspapers The Aegis, The Capital Gazette, The Daily Times (Delmarva Now), The Hometown Observer, Howard County Times, Germantown Pulse and The Towson Times. He's also won two Mike Powell Excellence in Journalism awards and has appeared on The Best of SNO, which showcases top student work of high school and college journalists. McFadden currently studies at Frederick Community College and plans to transfer to the University of Maryland in the fall of 2018 to work on a bachelor's degree in journalism with aspirations to be a national college basketball writer.
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