We continue the back story to past Crisfield High School basketball championships with this second installment.
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The Crabbers had their 7-year District streak snapped in 1963. Crisfield High School had captured District titles from 1956 up to the 1962 season, 7 consecutive trips to College Park. The MPSSAA allowed Black schools to participate in State tournament play for the first time. Previously Black schools had what was termed the Segregated Schools Tournament, the Woodson Panthers of Crisfield winning a title in 1960.
In 1963 white schools and black schools had their own District playoffs then they met for the right to go to College Park. Moton High of Easton defeated CHS in the ’63 District final. The following year each division had their own county champions, the winners playing for the overall county title. Finally in 1965 Black and white schools played in the regular season. Desegregation closed all the Black schools, many of them becoming intermediate level and local schools consolidated: Crisfield and Woodson, Washington and Somerset, Wi-Hi and Salisbury, Easton and Moton. The long-standing county format was abolished in 1974 and the current Regional system was adopted.
Douglas High of Prince Georges County was the first Black school to claim a State title in 1963, Somerset won State championships in 1965 and 1966.
Coach Jack Morgan who guided the Crabbers to a State crown in 1961 was looking to regroup in 1964, however he lost 3 of his top 4 scorers and 3 members of his starting lineup. Morgan did have leading scorer senior Glenn Evans back along with junior Paul Emely a starter in ’63 plus junior Larry Sterling first off, the bench seeing considerable action that season. Morgan called up Darryl Landon, Phill Rayfield and Kenny Walston from the JVs, all 3 juniors. Morgan would be starting 4 juniors with another as the sixth man.
Crisfield won 13 of their first 14 contests, before losing at Northampton. Following a tough loss at Wi-Hi the Crabbers rebounded with a 126-42 win over Stephen Decatur, it remains a school record for single game offensive production. CHS defeated Woodson for the County title and advanced to the District 5 Class C playoffs. Crisfield would face Moton in the first round, the crushing defeat in 1963, still fresh in their memories.
Crisfield built a 12 point halftime advantage but they led in the previous meeting until the Tigers manufactured a 20-0 run to close out the game winning 60-44. The Crabbers’ College Park run had ended. Moton did indeed bounce back gaining the lead midway into the final stanza. Crisfield pulled together and sliced an 8 point margin down to 2 with 3 seconds in regulation and a jump ball in their end of the floor. They still had jump balls back then, not the possession arrow like today. The tip went to Evans who put in a reverse layup to send the affair to extra time.
Crisfield slowed it down in overtime working for a sure basket. Moton had two possessions but put up hurried attempts and the contest remained scoreless with 1:30 left but Evans put CHS up for the first time since early in the fourth period, sub Woody Ward a crucial play grabbing an offensive rebound bringing the ball back out so the Crabbers could set back up. Moton another hurried shot, CHS went up by 4 with seconds ticking down. Yet another rushed attempt by the Tigers and CHS got the ball back. Moton scored as the buzzer went off on a breakaway, the final score 61-59.
The Crabbers easily dispatched Mardela in the final 94-49 and they were back to Cole Field House where they stopped defensive minded Central Consolidated of Harford County 60-48 and in a repeat of the 1961 title game CHS downed Hancock 73-64 for Crisfield’s third State crown, Morgan’s second.
Crisfield has won 8 State championships, most of any Shore school, plus 19 State tournament appearances also tied for fifth in the State.