Beating the Odds: the 1964 Crabbers, 4 juniors and a senior

By Richard Kellam
Posted 4/25/22

Winds of change swept through the scholastic basketball scene in 1963, the MPSSAA admitted Black schools into the State athletic organization, a long overdue inclusion. Black schools had their own …

You must be a member to read this story.

Join our family of readers for as little as $5.99 per month and support local, unbiased journalism.


Already a member? Log in to continue.   Otherwise, follow the link below to join.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Beating the Odds: the 1964 Crabbers, 4 juniors and a senior

Posted

Winds of change swept through the scholastic basketball scene in 1963, the MPSSAA admitted Black schools into the State athletic organization, a long overdue inclusion. Black schools had their own association until 1963, State championships were held under the title Segregated Schools Tournament.

The schools were generally consolidated institutions covering large areas. Salisbury High covered the entire Wicomico County population, the most heavily populous county on the Shore. Somerset County however had two, Woodson in Crisfield and Somerset in Princess Anne. There were separate District Tournaments in 1963 kicking off the new alignment.

Crisfield claimed the White schools championship, Moton (Easton) was the Black schools champ.

Crisfield  High lost this first encounter. Moton advanced to the State Class C semis where the Tigers fell to defending champion Poolesville 67-64 in OT. Poolesville made a successful defense defeating Garnett, another Black school, in the finals. Crisfield lost to Poolesville in the 1962 State final, the Montgomery County squad started 4 African American players. Many areas of the State had Black students, most notably Montgomery, Prince George's, Baltimore and Frederick Counties.

Montgomery Blair had future Major Leaguer Sonny Jackson in 1962. Towson had Bill Jones. In 1963 Jones was back, Fairmont Heights had Julius Johnson who along with Jones and Richard Drescher of Cambridge would go on to play at College Park for the Maryland Terrapins.

Crisfield’s loss in the 1963 Districts ended a 7-year run to College Park. For Coach Jack Morgan it snapped his 4-year district title streak. Morgan lost 3 starters from that squad but he did have leading scorer Glenn Evans back, along with guard Paul Emely who had worked his way into the starting five plus center Larry Sterling who was first off, the bench.

Morgan built the 1964 Crabbers around Evans and 4 juniors, Emely, Sterling, Phill Rayfield and Darrell Landon both called up from the JVs. Kenny Walston, another junior, a versatile swing player was the sixth man.

Crisfield opened the season with blowout wins over Stephen Decatur and Deal Island but lost to Wi-Hi. The Crabbers won 11 straight including victories over Washington, Pocomoke, Easton and Cambridge. Crisfield’s streak halted at Northampton, the Virginia school held on for a 60-56 triumph and the Crabbers were snowed-in unable to make their return trip that evening.

Crisfield lost a close encounter at Wi-Hi, the Crabbers let a slim lead slip away in the final moments falling 61-56. CHS rebounded with an overwhelming 126-42 defeat of Decatur, the Crabbers setting a school record in the process.

Crisfield closed out regular season play with a repeat victory over Easton. CHS then defeated Woodson for the County Class C title setting up a rematch with Moton in the District 5 semifinals.

Crisfield led the entire first-half, the margin bulging to 10 at the break. Moton, employed its usual conservative tactics. History appeared on the verge of repeating itself as the third quarter began. The Tigers shaved 4 points off the lead and in a wild fourth stanza the Easton school was sitting on a 7 point advantage with 2 minutes to play.

“There was no negativity, we kept playing, this was our tournament,” said Evans, who led all scorers with 21. It all came down to a jump ball in the CHS end with 3 seconds on the clock and the Crabbers down by 2. Sterling tipped the ball to Evans who scored on a reverse layup sending the contest into OT.

Woody Ward snared a crucial offensive rebound midway into the extra period with the score still deadlocked. Baskets by Evans and Sterling put CHS up 61-57. Moton scored on a breakaway as the final buzzer sounded: CHS 61-Moton 59.

The District final was anticlimactic, the Crabbers romped past Mardela 94-49 punching their ticket to Cole Field House once more. CHS stormed past Central Consolidated, a Black school from Bel Air 60-48.

The Class C championship game was a rematch of the 1961 title clash when CHS nipped Hancock 63-59 led by Jim Sterling’s 23 points. Sterling, at 6 ft. 10 inches was the tallest player in Crabbers' history. Larry Sterling paced Crisfield in 64 with 19 tallies, Evans and Emely 17 each as Crisfield won 73-64.

Members and subscribers make this story possible.
You can help support non-partisan, community journalism.