Casey Smith scored 18 points last night for Lansdowne, but it was her final five that ended No. 8 Randallstown's hopes for a perfect season.
Smith scored those points in the final 30 seconds to help second seed and visiting Lansdowne stop a furious comeback by top-seeded Randallstown and seal a 49-41 victory in the Class 3A, Region II final.
Lansdowne (19-5) advances to the Girls Class 3A, Region II final
state semifinals this week at UMBC. Randallstown finished at 22-1. Lansdowne made the state final four in 1987 and 1988, but lost in the first round each time.
Lansdowne seemed in control midway through the final quarter. Smith made a three-point play to give the Vikings a 44-26 lead with 4:34 left.
Nyota Mitchell (19 points) then sparked a 15-0 run for Randallstown. Mitchell scored 10 as the Rams sliced the lead to 44-41 on a Kim Arthur layup (on a Mitchell assist) with 44.1 seconds remaining.
Enter Smith. Following a Lansdowne timeout with 33.7 seconds left, Smith broke free on an inbounds play and Danielle Cascio found her with a perfect pass. Smith laid it in to make it 46-41 with 30 seconds left.
Smith added a three-point play later to clinch the victory.
"That was a long four-and-a-half minutes," said Lansdowne coach Ron Bareford. "When [Mitchell] started bombing those three-pointers, the nervousness doubled."
The Vikings, who had used good passing throughout the game, seemed to lose their cool a bit. They turned the ball over five times in six possessions thanks to tough defense by Randallstown.
Bareford called two timeouts in the final 4:34 to keep his team focused.
"I knew we were so close," said Bareford. "I didn't want to throw it away."
Lansdowne, which lost twice to Randallstown during the regular season, used a 13-1 run in the first quarter to take a lead it never relinquished.
The Vikings played tough defense. They used a triangle-and-two, and the two players followed Mitchell everywhere. Mitchell made only six of 22 from the field.
Angie Pasta and Shannon McGarrigle spent much of the game shadowing Mitchell for Lansdowne.
"We knew Nyota is good," said Smith. "She scores her 20 every game. We were going to try to cut her 20 down and shut down the rest of the offense."
Said Randallstown coach Kris Slaughter: "They were following [Mitchell] everywhere."
Randallstown never got going on offense. The Rams made only 17 of 62 from the field and trailed almost the entire way.
Arthur added 16 points for Randallstown. Only four Rams scored in the game. Jamie Schlaich added 14 for Lansdowne.
The Vikings were patient on offense throughout the game. Lansdowne took its time working the ball around and often found good shots.
The game remained close until the third quarter. An Arthur follow cut the lead to 24-20 with 6:50 left in the third quarter.
Smith then scored seven to spark a 20-6 run that gave the Vikings the 44-26 lead.