Playoff memories for Crisfield High as the 2023-24 basketball season ends

By Richard Kellam
Posted 3/7/24

Crisfield High defeated Washington 64-58 in the East Regional quarterfinals this past season — the Crabbers first playoff win since 2020.

CHS claimed back-to-back Regional titles in 2019 …

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Playoff memories for Crisfield High as the 2023-24 basketball season ends


Crisfield High defeated Washington 64-58 in the East Regional quarterfinals this past season — the Crabbers first playoff win since 2020.

CHS claimed back-to-back Regional titles in 2019 and ’20 before the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association canceled the 2021 season.

The Crabbers fell in this year’s Regional semis to top seed Cambridge-South Dorchester. CHS downed the Vikings in both the 2019 and ’20 finals.

Crisfield has a proud hoops history, one of the most successful programs in MPSSAA history. The Crabbers are tied for fifth in final four appearances with 19. Ironically Wicomico High School leads this category with 29 trips to College Park, however the Indians received automatic bids in the 1940s and ’50s. The State was split then into 5 Districts, and schools were divided into 3 classes: A, B, C. Wi-Hi was the lone Class A school on the Shore and were given a free ride to the old Cole Field House at College Park.

Second to Wi-Hi is Allegany with 28 trips, followed by Gwynn Park with 22, and Dunbar, 20.

Dunbar leads in State championships with 16, surpassing Allegany with 14. Gwynn Park 9, CHS tied for fourth with Fairmont Heights with 8. Crisfield is the overall 1A frontrunner. The Crabbers have always been in the smallest classification in the 76 year existence of the MPSSAA. Dunbar, Allegany and Gwynn Park won most of their titles as 2A or higher.

Baltimore City’s Lake Clifton and Edmondson have ruled Class 1A since the 2019 season. Lake Clifton took the 1A crown in 2019 and 2022, Edmondson the defending 1A titlist. State tournament play was canceled following the quarterfinal round in 2020, Lake Clifton and Edmondson were still alive until MPSSAA officials stepped in due to the coronavirus outbreak. The two Baltimore City rivals are both top seeds playing in their respective Regional finals. Edmondson 19-2 ranked #6 in Baltimore won the City public school championship, all the schools above them are private institutions.

Lake Clifton and Edmondson both dropped down from 4A over the past 20 years, Lake has won State titles in all 4 classes, Edmondson a 4A crown, now they’re both 1A. It’s a whole new ball game for the small schools.

Crisfield won’t be going to the States this year but we can reminisce by looking back at some of the Crabbers past glory seasons. It all began in 1955. The 2023-24 Crabbers featured a lineup dominated by underclassmen. In 1955 Nick Scallion took a CHS team that featured 6 sophomores playing dominant roles to the District final. They lost to Mardela 52-51.

Crisfield went 20-2 the following year, losing only to defending Class B champ Cambridge in regular season play and Centreville in the State Class C final. Scallion and the Crabbers won it all in 1957, the birth of a dynasty. CHS won 7 consecutive District crowns, unmatched by any other Shore school.     In mmmm

Crisfield defeated Moton 61-59 in overtime in the 1964 District 5 semis avenging a 60-44 loss in the 1963 final. CHS won the State championship the school’s third, Moton’s second.

The Crabbers made it back to College Park in 1970, downing Worcester High and future NBA player Talvin Skinner. Coach Bill Cain captured his first of 4 State titles in 1973, the Crabbers needed a victory in a special playoff with Washington to advance to the Bayside and District 5 playoffs. Maryland was still using the antiquated county championship format, the Regional system we are familiar with today had not yet been installed. CHS squeaked past the Jaguars 68-66 on the way to Bayside and District laurels and held off Middletown 73-72 in one of the most exciting games in school history. Orlando Ames tallied the Crabbers final 4 points in the closing seconds as CHS overcame a 36 point performance by Middletown’s Tim Fawley.

Jamie Jackson provided the thrills in another barnburner, a 54-53 triumph in the 1979 Bayside title affair. Jackson tipped in the winning basket with 3 second remaining. Andre Collins hit crucial free throws as the clock ran down to preserve a 42-37 win in the 2000 State championship contest, Crisfield’s final appearance at 36-point Cole.

Another notable playoff win occurred in the 2019 Regional final. CHS travelled to unbeaten Havre de Grace where the Crabbers fell behind by 9 midway in the third period. Justin Cohen led Crisfield’s torrid comeback bid with a game high 28 points and 11 straight free throws down the stretch, his final 2 putting the Crabbers up 70-66 with 20 seconds left on the clock as Crisfield held on to win 72-66 and advance to College Park.

Will the youthful Crabbers repeat the success of the 1955 crew, the ones that started it all? The Crabbers will be back!

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