Poly senior guard John Crosby didn't have one of his better shooting nights Wednesday at No. 1 St. Frances, but that wasn't going to stop him in the closing seconds with the game in the balance.
With the No. 8 Engineers trailing by one point, the ball was in his hands with 30 seconds left. Crosby held the ball for the first 10, then started to the basket before pulling up just behind the foul line to hit a game-winning basket he would never forget. The Engineers had to make one final stop with St Frances getting one last shot up before the visitors secured a 52-51 win over the Panthers in a battle of undefeated teams.
Poly senior guard Brandon Lindsay finished with 16 points, Crosby had 13 and the Engineers improved to 6-0 with the program's biggest regular-season win. St. Frances, which got 13 points from Khalil Richards, falls to 9-1 on the season.
In a sluggish game in which baskets were hard to come by for both sides, it was Crosby who was able to come up with the timely offense.
"I knew I had to stay aggressive," he said. "The whole game, my shots weren't falling, but I knew I had to stay aggressive. I've worked too hard. I've made that shot 1,000 times in the summer so I knew I could make this one in the final seconds."
Neither team was able to grab hold of the game with each having five-point leads as their biggest of the game.
The Engineers trailed 48-45 when senior Terray Quickley was able to convert a 3-point play to tie the game with 2:18 to play.
From there, the game would have five lead changes — the last one coming on Crosby's jumper. The Panthers last lead came with 47 seconds left when Jared Hamilton tipped in the Panthers' third try around the rim to make it 51-50. St. Frances was 2-for-15 from the 3-point line and connected on only 13-of -27 free throws.
After opening with five straight wins by 30 or more points, Poly coach Sam Brand was concerned how his team would come out on the road against the Panthers.
His team came out a bit sluggish, but the Panthers did the same as neither was able to find any consistent offensive flow in the first half. It kept the game close and the score low with Poly claiming a 27-25 halftime lead.
The Engineers went on an 8-1 run later in the second quarter, capped by a 3-pointer from Crosby for a 27-22 lead with 1:17 left before intermission. But the Panthers were able to close the gap to 27-25 with a nifty drive from Daquan Bracey with 33 seconds left.
No. 4 City 69, W.E.B. DuBois 32: Omari George scored a game-high 22 points for the undefeated Knights (5-0) against the visiting Panthers (0-5).
St. Maria Goretti 57, No. 12 Archbishop Spalding 50: The host Cavaliers (3-5), led by Jourdan Grant and Gary Jefferson with 15 points each, had their two-game winning streak halted.
No. 6 St. Frances 61, Archbishop Spalding 53: The Cavaliers (1-6, 1-2 Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference) hung with the host Panthers (7-0, 3-0) for the first half, but St. Frances pulled away in the third quarter.
St. Frances, led by Adre'onia Coleman with a game-high 24 points, outscored Spalding 20-10 in the third quarter.
Glenelg Country School 36, Garrison Forest 35: The host Dragons (5-2) took a one-point lead with a minute to go and held off the Grizzlies (4-1).
Glenelg Country School's Deja Hursey finished with a game-high 12 points, including going 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.
Sun staff contributed to this article.
8 Poly 52 1 St. Frances 51
P—Crosby 13, Kelly 7, Lindsay 16, Quickley 11, Thompson 2, Jones 3 . Totals 13 21-16 52.
SF— Morgan 8, Ayemi 3, Richards 13, Robinson 5, Bracey 10, Hawkins 3, Hamilton 9. Totals 18 13-27 51. Half: P, 27-25.