The Arundel boys basketball team wasn't about to make the same mistake twice.
Leading No. 15 Centennial by one point with two seconds left in the District V championship game Wednesday, the No. 9 Wildcats couldn't help but think back to two games earlier against Old Mill — when a buzzer-beating layup had spoiled their undefeated season.
So this time, as Centennial's Omari Ringgold (15 points) caught a length-of-the-court pass at the foul line and turned to shoot, Arundel made sure it was there with a hand up.
Ringgold's contested shot glanced off the rim as time expired, giving Arundel a 53-52 victory.
"We thought about what we did there [against Old Mill] and what we could do different. ... We tried some different things down the stretch, and I thought it helped us," Arundel coach Jeff Starr said.
"It's good to come out with a close win like that after coming out of a tough loss."
Senior David Nicholson led the way in the victory with 13 points for Arundel (22-1), including a trio of 3-pointers. Nicholson was joined in double figures by Ryan Hill (11 points) and Austin Carroll (10).
Ringgold and Keonte Potts (15 points) were the leaders for Centennial (18-5).
Both teams took turns with the lead through the first three quarters, with the Eagles leading by as many as eight and Arundel as many as six. Once Nicholson hit a 3 with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter to make it 44-42, however, the Wildcats never trailed again.
Centennial had a couple of great opportunities late to tie or take the lead, including a pair of foul shots by Potts with five seconds left and Ringgold's try at the buzzer. None of the attempts fell, though, and the Eagles suffered their fourth loss this season by three points or fewer.
"We got a chance to win the game three times with our top two scorers. I think I'll take that 100 percent of the time," Centennial coach Chad Hollwedel said. "They didn't fall … but there's no doubt that this made us better."