Glenelg's boys basketball team almost waited too long before "getting the motor back running," as senior Jason Beall put it.
The Gladiators sputtered during the regular season's second half, losing their hold on first place in Howard County, a No. 20 ranking and a lot of team chemistry.
And, yesterday, in a Class 2A, Region I opening-round playoff game, they trailed Allegany County's Fort Hill by 11 points at halftime. But Beall, the county's leading scorer, took command in the second half and overtime period, scoring 20 of his game-high 22 points, as the Gladiators advanced with a 69-63 victory at home.
After finishing regulation at 59-59, Glenelg converted seven of eight overtime free throws, while the Senators missed all seven field-goal attempts.
Beall, a 6-foot-2 forward, made four free throws and scored a crucial basket off an offensive rebound, providing Glenelg a 65-61 edge with 59 seconds left in overtime. After Fort Hill (15-8) pulled to 65-63, guard Jamie Brinker hit both ends of a one-and-one to make it 67-63 with 23 seconds remaining. The Senators had a final opportunity, but Chad Turner missed a three-point try, and Jeff Lewis' two free throws accounted for the final score.
A Glenelg loss would have been the last game for starting seniors Beall, Brinker, Lewis and Jeff Cline (15 points). Instead, the four will lead Glenelg (16-7), the region's No. 4 seed, at top-seeded Allegany on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
"That's not Jason Beall's best game of the year, but, in the second half, the senior came out in him and said, 'Excuse me, I ain't playing my last game tonight,' " Glenelg coach Terry Coleman said. "To be perfectly frank, I'm not so sure that the shots he took were necessarily the shots that you would design.
"But if you've got a senior on the floor who's capable of scoring and makes up his mind that he's going to take the game over, you stand back and let him do it."