After 31 minutes, 52.5 seconds of ragged basketball, host South River beat McDonough of Charles County with a picture-perfect offensive play.
Senior forward Robert Randall converted a three-point play with 7.5 seconds remaining in regulation last night to give the No. 3 seed Seahawks a 60-59 victory over the No. 6 seed visitors -- their first opening-round Class 3A, Region IV playoff win in four years.
With the win, the Seahawks (14- 6) earn the right to travel to top seed Potomac (18-3) of Prince George's County tomorrow at 7 p.m. The Braves are ranked sixth in the Washington metropolitan area, and were the Class 3A runners-up in 1992.
The winning sequence started with 12 seconds left when Randall's frontcourt mate Darren Hall received an inbounds pass and drove toward the basket. Three Rams defenders converged on Hall, who then alertly dumped a pass to Randall, who laid the ball off the glass and into the basket while being fouled.
Following a McDonough timeout, Randall touched off a home-crowd celebration by hitting the go-ahead free throw. Hall (27 points and 13 rebounds, both game highs) sealed the game with a steal with two seconds showing on the clock.
"The play was set to get Darren the ball, but I cut to the basket to getin position for a pass," said Randall, who scored 23 points and pulled down six rebounds.
"[After the basket] I was thinking, 'Make the shot, make the shot.' "
Said South River coach Kenny Dunn: "That was just our regular out-of-bounds play. We told them to go to the blocks and wait for a pass or the rebound. He [Hall] found the open man. We've got all these talented sophomores, but it came down to the two seniors at the end."
The Rams (9-12) had held the lead since the opening two minutes of the contest, and looked as though they had clinched a win with 36 seconds left when guard Tyrone June (nine points) hit a 10-foot bank shot for a 59-55 lead.
But Russell Toungue brought the Seahawks back to within two with a spectacular tip-in. Randall then set up his late heroics with a steal as McDonough attempted to break a tenacious South River press.
McDonough took its largest lead of the game half at 32-25 on a follow-up by George Morris (team-high 15 points). South River then went on a 7-2 run (with six from Hall) to cut the Rams' lead to 34-32 by halftime.
"We can enjoy this one, but tomorrow afternoon we have practice, and we have to get ready for Potomac," said Dunn.