Vikings fall to Crabbers in 1A East title game

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan
The Crisfield Crabbers’ JaRon Smith seemed to walk on air, as he soared to a score in Thursday’s win over Cambridge-South Dorchester. The Vikings’ Jawan Jackson is defending at right.

CAMBRIDGE — The Vikings’ season ended on Thursday, with a 64-49 loss to Crisfield High School, while the Crabbers earned the 1A East Championship with the win.

As the game started, action was fast and loose, with the excitement in the full gym at Cambridge-South Dorchester possibly affecting the players.

The second quarter started with a C-SD 17-16 C-SD lead, one the Crabbers didn’t overcome until later in the period, when the tally reached 21-22 — the visitors’ first lead since early in the first quarter.

The second half began with a narrow Crabbers’ advantage, 25-26. It was in the third quarter that Crisfield men went to a 3-2 defense, shutting down the Vikings’ inside game.

With no strong outside shooters, the strategy took effect, with the Vikes able to put only 10 points on the board in the period. Forced to attempt 3-pointers with little success, while the Crabbers began to sink their long-distance shots, the Vikings fell behind — by the end of the third quarter, it was 35-44.

It looked like frustration began to set in, with Vikings missing shots they would usually have little trouble dropping through the hoop. With the game under control, the Crabbers put in their backups with 1:29 left in the game.

C-SD didn’t score in the fourth quarter until there was only 1:13 left to play, bringing the score to 41-61.

The result didn’t dampen Head Coach Marty Bailey’s pride in his players’ performance over the course of the season.

“They did a great job,” he said. “We won 19 games.”

Crabbers’ Co-Head Coach David Arnold said his team came in knowing how to handle big games.

“They’ve been here and done this before,” he said, add that though Crisfield knew C-SD had a good team, “We felt confident coming in.”

The Crabbers went on to play Edmondson-Westside, the 1A North Champions, in the state quarter finals on Saturday, in Crisfield. The game ended early, though, in chaos and controversy.

With the Crabbers down by 20 in the third quarter, a Crisfield player was fouled hard under the basket, leading to a confrontation. Fans then rushed on to the court, stopping the action.

Referees sent both teams to their locker rooms, and had to call in the Maryland State Police to clear the gym. A statement on the Crabbers’ Facebook page said Saturday, “No decisions have been released regarding how this contest will end.”

That decision came on Sunday, when state officials announced that the game would continue on Monday at Edmondson, without spectators. Crisfield chose to forfeit rather than travel to the Baltimore school, citing safety concerns.

Crabbers’ Co-Head Coach Andre Collins wrote online, “They will always cater to the Western Shore! The state wanted the game to be done with anyway.”

“With that being said our 2019-2020 season will come to an end with our heads held high,” he continued. “As I said above, there’s not a single game more important to me than the safety of our players and staff!”