The South River offense struggled throughout the fourth quarter until Niya Young and Kobe Chaney made key plays in the final minute.
Young sank three free throws in addition to running down a long rebound and Chaney pitched in with two free throws that helped host South River hang on for a 46-38 victory over No. 14 Old Mill in an Anne Arundel County matchup Tuesday night.
The win pulled the Seahawks (18-3, 14-1 in Anne Arundel) even with the Patriots (18-3, 14-1) in county play. Both teams have one game left, scheduled for Friday, but South River now holds the head-to-head tiebreaker.The teams will meet next week for the county title.
The Seahawks led for most of the game, but Old Mill stepped up the pressure on defense in the fourth quarter. The Patriots went to a box-and-one against point guard Young (11 points), throwing South River off its game.
Old Mill forced nine turnovers in that period and cut the Seahawks' lead to 39-38 when Rebecca Lee (11 points) scored on a put-back with 2:45 left. South River turned it over three more times before settling down with just under a minute left.
"We don't always know how to start, but we know how to finish," said Chaney, who finished with a game-high 14 points.
Young helped the Seahawks start to finish by dribbling out of a double-team in the corner in front of her team's bench. She then got fouled with 42.4 seconds left and sank both ends of a one-and-one for a 43-38 lead.
Old Mill then missed a shot, and Young raced across the court to run down the rebound in the right corner. The Patriots fouled her again with 17.3 seconds left, and Young again hit the front end of a one-and-one before missing the second with the Seahawks leading 44-38 lead.
"We've been in situations like this before," Young said. "I know that, in times like this, my team's counting on me."
Old Mill then missed two more shots before Chaney pulled down her 16th rebound and got fouled. She then made both free throws for the 46-38 final.
South River made 15 of 22 free throws overall, and 9 of 11 in the fourth quarter. They needed those shots as they made just one field goal in that quarter.
"[The free throws] were huge," South River coach Mike Zivic said. "We've just got kids stepping up left and right to [make plays]."
Old Mill's offense never really got into a rhythm. Lee was the lone Patriot in double figures as Old Mill made just 13 baskets and hit only 10 of 19 free throws.
They hung in early as South River had a 22-20 halftime lead. However, the Seahawks used a 9-1 run that started late in the second quarter and went into the third to take the lead for good as Old Mill missed numerous scoring chances from the lane.
The fourth quarter defense kept the Patriots in the game as they stopped Young and South River from spreading out the floor and eating up time.
Pressure from the box-and-one disrupted the Seahawks time and again, and Old Mill coach Rick Smith liked how his team they played, but said they needed more effort throughout.
"We've got to do that for four quarters," he said. "I don't think we came out as ready to play as [needed]."
South River 46, No. 14 Old Mill 38
OM-Afi 8, Dailey 1, Moses 5, Graham 3, Hawkins 6, Green 4, Lee 11. Totals: 13 10-19 38.
SR- Smith 9, Young 11, Smith 4, Rose 2, Taylor 2, Chaney 14, Folks 2, Herndon 2. Totals: 15 15-22 46. Half: S, 22-20