With two state title games played Thursday at Xfinity Center, and two on Saturday, the Baltimore area swept all four state championship games in boys basketball in College Park last weekend for the second time in the tournament’s history. Two Baltimore City schools, City College and Edmondson Westside, took home crowns, as did a pair of Baltimore County schools, New Town and Parkville. 

Only one other time, in 2018, did all four champions came from Baltimore’s city and/or county – ‘18 – Perry Hall (4A), Poly (3A), Lake Clifton (2A), Dunbar (1A).  

The Black Knights of City College (28-0) capped off a magical undefeated season with a 33 point win over Aberdeen in the semifinal, then using a 19-5 second quarter to propel them to a 67-54 victory over Damascus (25-3) in the 3A state championship game. The Black Knights are the first Baltimore City public school team to finish with an overall undefeated record since the Knights ‘13-14 edition, who were also the last MPSSAA team to finish among the nation’s top 25 teams when they were ranked #17 in USA Today’s final Top 25 rankings. 

Coach Omar Smith is a City College alum’, and led the Knights to their first Final Four in ‘97 as their leading scorer. This year’s team was led by 6’4 senior Camerin Horton, a standout on both sides of the floor. Horton’s production in the state title game was a reflection of the outstanding season he produced, scoring 24 points, on 10 of 15 shooting, hit all three foul shots, and added three rebounds, three steals, and four blocked shots. Seniors Danny Parsons and K’won Johnson each added 15 points, with Parsons adding six assists, and Johnson hitting three of five beyond the arc. Fellow senior Kyree Smith supplied eight points, seven rebounds, and seven assists.  

This was the fourth state title for the Black Knights, winning back-to-back state titles under Mike Daniel in ‘09 and ‘10, to go with their historic ‘14 team, coached by Darryl Wade. Smith was an assistant on that team. Smith sports a 95-23 record in five seasons with the Black Knights, including a 68-6 mark over the last three seasons. The Black Knights were the first MPSSAA team to finish with an undefeated season since the ‘14 Black Knights. Before that – 2009 Lake Clifton.  

Edmondson gave the city the second title it was assured of after the Black Knights victory on Thursday, with the Red Storm facing league rival Lake Clifton in a rematch of the 2022 1A state championship game, where the Lakers won their seventh state championship. The two met once this season, with the Lakers taking a hard fought 50-46 win in the second game of the season. Coach Darnell Dantzler and his Red Storm flipped the script in the final, pulling out a 56-48 win over the Lakers, who entered the game with a 7-2 finals record.  

Dantzler was taking his Red Storm to their fifth state championship game in ten post-seasons, winning back-to-back titles in ‘14, the losing in the finals in ‘17 and ‘22. This year’s team was led by his son, Darnell Jr, a sophomore transfer from St Frances. The Red Storm had advanced to the city championship game, but lost a hard fought game to eventual 3A undefeated state champion City College, 52-46. Saturday, Dantzler Jr shared team-high scoring honors with junior guard Josiah Brown, who contributed 19 points, five rebounds, and two assists in 15 minutes, hitting all nine of his free throw attempts, including six in the final minute. The Red Storm limited the Lakers to 32.8% shooting from the field.  

Dantzler became the seventh Baltimore City coach to win three state titles, joining Dunbar coaches Paul Smith, Eric ‘Smiley’ Lee, and Cyrus Jones, and Southern coach Meredith Smith, Lake Clifton coach Herman Harried, and Poly coach Sam Brand. Dantzler has led the Red Storm to six Final Four’s in ten post-seasons. Dantzler flaunts a 260-99 record in 15 seasons at Edmondson.  

Parkville was looking for some redemption this season, and found it. In 2020, after the Knights advanced to the Final Four for just the second time since 1987, Covid struck, and wiped out the Final Four. After no ‘20-21 season, the Knights nonetheless picked up where they left in ‘21-22, advancing to the Final Four with a sterling 24-0 record. The Knights found themselves with a ten point third quarter lead over eventual 4A state champion Eleanor Roosevelt in the state semifinals, before squandering it. Coach Josh Czerski and seniors such as Caron Smith and Josiah Legree didn’t want to go out like that, while Czerski and the Knights were hoping the third time was a charm.  

The Knights were outstanding this season, riding through the regular season with a sterling 22-0 record. The Knights notched wins over Largo, an eventual 2A state finalist, Gaithersburg, an eventual 4A state semifinalist, and Aberdeen, an eventual 3A state semifinalist. In the regular season finale, the Knights topped New Town, the eventual 2A state champion, 81-73, before the Titans handed the Knights their first loss of the season in the Baltimore County championship, 61-63. The Knights rebounded from their first loss and advanced to the quarterfinals, facing a rematch with a sound Dulaney squad. Legree delivered a buzzer-beating game-winning three-pointers, and the Knights survived and advanced.  

The Knights posted a pair convincing wins in the Final Four, a 13 point win over Gaithersburg in the semifinals, and a 16 point victory over Meade in the championship game. Smith scored a team-high 23 points in the title game victory, while Legree registered 22 points and five assists. This was the Knights third state championship in their program’s history, and first in 49 years, after winning state titles in ‘65 and ‘74. The Knights had just advanced to one Final Four in 32 post-seasons, before advancing to the last three. Coach Czerski boasts a 116-33 record in sux seasons with the Knights, and three Final Four appearances.  

New Town was the first of the four metro area teams to win a state championship, taking a tight, 64-57 victory over Orince Georges County champion Largo, to claim the 2A state title, their fourth in their program’s history, and third in eight post-seasons. The Titans headed into the Final Four battle-tested, as Coach Derek Wise saw his team face the top two teams in the Baltimore Catholic League in Mt St Joe and St Maria Goretti, a game 24-win Linden squad from New Jersey, and took his troops to Western Pennsylvania to play to eventual 20-win teams in the Commonwealth. The last two post-seasons had been tough to swallow for the Titans, after carrying a 23 game win streak into the 2020 Final Four, only to see it go away, and losing a one point game to Douglass in the regional finals in 2022.  

The Titans took losses to both of the Gaels, but beat everyone else, aside from their split with eventual 4A state champion Parkville, which included their county championship victory. Those battles paid off in the post-season, with the Titans winning their firs three post-season games by an average of 35.3 points per game, and allowing just 31.3 points per game. The Titans, led by senior Cam Sparrow, tightened up on defense again in the state semifinal versus 25-1 Wicomico, holding the Tribe to 37 points below their season average in a 47-41 win. The Titans came against the PG county champion Lions, who featured one of the top sophomore prospects in the country in 6’6 Cameron Ward. Behind Sparrow, the Titans prevailed, with their star senior registering 17 points, nine rebounds, six assists, and two blocked shots in his final game as a Titan. Senior Jaden Brown added 15 points, on 7-9 shooting, with six rebounds. Seniors Arrington Greenfield and Jamal Price added 12 and 11 points, respectively.  

The Titans advanced to their eighth Final Four in 16 post-seasons, winning a title in ‘07 under Mike Smith, and back-to-back state titles in ‘15 and ‘16 under Mike Daniel, who also won back-to-back state titles at City College in ‘09 and ‘10. Coach Wise was an assistant for the Titans under Daniel on their ‘15 and ‘16 state championship teams. Coach Wise holds an impressive 86-10 record in four seasons as head coach of the Titans.  

Baltimore City entered MPSSAA basketball with a bang in 1993, with nationally ranked #17 Dunbar and Southern both winning state titles. This weekend, the city’s teams took multiple (out of 4) titles for the 18th time in 30 post-seasons. Three times – in ‘09, ‘18 and ‘19, the city took home three state titles. Five times in 30 post-seasons, the city failed to produce a state champion. Overall, Baltimore City has won 46 state titles in 30 post-seasons. Eight other times, three of the four champions that season hailed from Baltimore’s city and/or county, including five straight years from ‘09-13. Also, in back-ti-back years in ‘94 and ‘95, and ‘17, the year before the area swept all four titles for the first time. Eight times in the last 14 post-seasons, the Baltimore area has won three or more of the four boys basketball state championships that season.  

Willie Sean Coughlan
Willie Sean Coughlan

HS Sports Analyst

Willie, a native of Chicago, and now a resident of Columbia for 40 years, is an educator at Homewood Center in Howard County, after spending 12 years as a real estate agent, following 10 years of running a small men’s retail company. Willie has contributed to Max Preps, Digital Sports, and Varsity Sports Network. Willie has produced MPSSAA top 25 rankings for both football and basketball for 15 years, across various platforms. From a large ‘sports family’, Willie’s brother Mike led Reservoir High to the 3A basketball state title game in 2018, while his nephew Anthony serves as the Indianapolis Colts College Scouting Coordinator.