When the final horn sounded, Gerstell Academy students rushed onto the floor and celebrated with the school's boys basketball team.
Gerstell's first boys basketball game against a Carroll County Public Schools was one worth remembering.
Sophomore Khyle Washington's two free throws with 12 seconds remaining led Gerstell to a historic 58-56 win over Winters Mill Friday night at Paterakis Athletic Center. This was Gerstell's first boys basketball win over a Carroll County Public Schools program.
The Gerstell boys are playing CCPS teams for the first time this year. The boys and girls basketball games against Winters Mill will be an annual occurrence. The victors receive the Battle of the Birds trophy. Both schools have Falcon mascots.
The kickoff to this new rivalry against schools just six miles apart ended with Gerstell (6-3) players posing for cellphone photos with the trophy.
"Just a big win for us," Gerstell senior captain Luke Gardner said.
Gerstell coach Ben Thompson added four games against CCPS schools this year to show his program can be competitive against anyone in the area.
Despite having three freshmen and one sophomore on the roster, Gerstell showed it is capable of doing just that.
Washington, who moved to the area from Atlanta earlier this year, sealed the victory with his two foul shots. His first bounced off the rim twice and in. His second swished through the net, prompting most members of the Gerstell student section to jump and cheer.
Twelve seconds later, after a missed 3-pointer by Winters Mill's Braedon Dorsey, the Gerstell students rushed onto the floor.
Former Winters Mill forward Rashad Woodyard watched the celebration from his first-row seat in the visiting bleachers. When asked if he wished he could have played in this rivalry, he said "of course."
Victorious Gerstell coaches and players viewed this as a landmark victory for a developing program.
"It's been great to see the progress we have made and just how well the community has supported us," said Gerstell coach Ben Thompson, who had to yell to be heard over the celebrating student body.
Washington had a team-high 15 points for Gerstell. Gardner had 13 points and junior Blake Bissen had 11.
After trailing by two at the end of the first quarter, Gerstell rallied with four 3-pointers in a 23-point second quarter outburst. Winters Mill (1-1) was able to rally in the fourth quarter. Senior Keon Claiborne's lay-in gave Winters Mill a 56-54 lead with two minutes left.