By Brent Kennedy, email@example.com
11:46 PM EDT, March 14, 2013
The clock finally struck midnight on Reservoir’s Cinderella season.
Potomac, behind the duo of Dion Wiley (25 points) and Walter Broddie (22), closed the third quarter of its 3A state semifinal game against the Gators with a 10-1 run to break open a tight game and provide the separation needed to pull out a 64-57 victory Thursday at the University of Maryland’s Comcast Center.
Reservoir (19-7), making the program’s first state final four appearance, had succeeded most of the evening at limiting the runs by Potomac (22-3). But in those latter stages of the third period, over the span of 90 seconds, the Wolverines issued a blow the Gators never quite recovered from.
“It’s difficult for a team that hasn’t been here … to realize you have to push until the end,” Reservoir coach Mike Coughlan said. “Obviously we knew they were going to make a run, it was just a very critical time.”
With the win, Potomac advances to Saturday’s 3A state championship game against Milford Mill. The Millers, who won back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011, defeated Urbana in the classification’s other semifinal, 78-53.
Wiley was the story late. He hit a pair of 3-pointers during Potomac’s push from being down two to up seven, including one in the final second of the third period to give the Wolverines their largest lead of the game, 52-45.
“I was feeling it cause I had just hit one before that,” said Wiley, a junior being recruited by local Division I schools Georgetown and Maryland. “Time was running down, I heard 3-2-1 and I just shot it.”
In the fourth quarter, Reservoir scored first on a put-back by Aaron McDonald and managed to keep itself within seven points the entire rest of the way. At the same time, though, Potomac never let its lead dip lower than four at any point. Wiley and Broddie scored all of their team’s 12 points in the final stanza.
“It’s one of those things where we have a very complimentary team, not a two-pony show or one-horse show, but it starts with your horses,” Potomac coach Renard Johnson said. “Everybody knows these are two highly recruited young men and if they don’t do it for us, we’re not going to get it done, (especially) at this stage in the game.”
Aside from the third quarter, the game was back-and-forth the entire way.
Potomac established itself early, scoring first on a put-back by Wiley and opening up a four-point lead, 6-2, less than two minutes in following a 3-pointer by Broddie.
But Reservoir answered right back. Matt Christian (8 points, 7 rebounds) and James Simms (9 points, 8 rebounds) got going inside, while Danny O’Hagan (5 points) provided a spark on the perimeter.
By the midway point of the second quarter the Gators had opened up their own four-point lead, 22-18, following a jumper by Kyle Reilly (team-high 14 points).
That cushion was still at three points in favor of Reservoir, 32-29, at the half.
“We came out and we were able to work the ball around and everyone was getting easy shots,” Reilly said. “Once we hit our shots we were able to get comfortable and we fed off each other.”
Motivated by the halftime deficit, Potomac came out inspired to open the third quarter. The Wolverines put together a quick 8-2 spurt to go back ahead.
Once again, however, Reservoir hung tough. The team’s effort on the glass, outrebounding Potomac 44-32 on the night behind Simms and Seth Henry (12 rebounds), proved key. Following a lay-up by Simms and a foul shot by Chris Young, the Gators were back in front, 44-42, with 1:34 left in the third quarter.
“To tell the truth, I don’t even feel like they were boxing out,” Simms said. “I was just going over the top. We came out in the second half with a lot of energy.”
The bad news for Reservoir, though, was that two-point cushion ended up being its last lead of the game. Wiley started the run with a three and ended it the exact same way.
After the game, a choked up Coughlan had nothing but praise for his guys who, despite the loss, still produced the best season in program history this winter.
“I’m just really proud of this group. I mean nobody knew who we were at the beginning, the school has never done anything (like this) basketball wise,” Coughlan said. “Sitting at 6-4, having lost to Marriotts Ridge in the middle of the season, it would have been very easy to go the other direction. But we went 13-2, put the first banner up in the school’s (basketball) history and came down here and battled one of the best public schools in the state of Maryland.
“This group has just been fantastic and it’s been a privilege to be around these kids.”
Potomac 64, Reservoir 57
P (22-3): Wiley 25, Broddie 22, Dickson 6, Saunders 5, Newman 4, Smith 2.
Re (19-7): Reilly 14, Simms 9, Christian 8, McDonald 5, Henry 5, O’Hagan 5, Toler 4, Williams 4, Boris 2, Young 1.
Half: 32-29 Re.