Coach Phil Walter designed it, Jimmy Ellsworth said he'd make it, and he did, as No. 18 Perry Hall used a last-second three-point basket for a 49-47 nonconference victory at C. Milton Wright last night.
Two free throws by Matt Banks, Perry Hall's top scorer, gave the Gators (11-2) their first lead of the night at 46-44 with 1:41 left in the game.
Each side missed a shot before Wright (5-5) got the ball with 35 seconds left. With senior twins John and Chad Bowman handling the ball most of the time, the home side worked the clock down inside of 10 seconds.
Chad, who had missed on a drive moments before and a three-point attempt earlier in the quarter, swished one from just outside the arc and it was Wright, 47-46, with four seconds left.
Perry Hall got the ball to midcourt, and Walter called timeout with two seconds left. Walter diagrammed a play, and then Wright took a timeout.
Paul Molino inbounded the ball to Ellsworth, who turned and shot from 20 feet. The ball banked off the backboard and through the net at the buzzer.
"It was your basic turn-and-shoot," Ellsworth said. "I had said I was going to make it."
Walter said there was a little more to it, because the shooter had time to turn and square up to the basket before letting go the one-hander with several bodies around him. "A 6-3 player who shoots the threes -- that's an advantage," the coach added.
In the span of eight days, Wright has lost three times -- to Edgewood by two on a buzzer-beating basket, to Edgewood again with a fourth-quarter swoon, and to Ellsworth's heroics last night.
The Mustangs next are at Havre de Grace tomorrow and home against Elkton on Saturday.
It was Perry Hall's second win in as many days, following a 57-45 decision over Dulaney in which Ellsworth had 20 points and Baks 17.
Walter called it, "a well-played game with good half-court defense." His counterpart, George Constantine, admitted it was a heartbreaker because "we played so hard."
Still, Wright will look back at the second quarter and cringe. The Gators went up 22-14 on a basket by Chris Rueckert, then missed six straight foul shots, including two one-and-ones for what could have been a 30-14 margin. And, after John Bowman made one of two, Chad missed the front end of a bonus or it could have been as much as a 33-14 cushion.
Perry Hall was in a similar foul-shooting situation, as it wound up making 18 of 29. It prompted Constantine to shake his head and say, "We fouled too much."
As it was, the Gators were within 29-25 at the break, and 38-34 after three periods.
A three-pointer by Ellsworth completed a 6-0 run for a tie at 40. There were ties at 42 and 44 before Banks untied it. Driving for a score, Banks crashed into Rueckert, who was called for his fifth foul, and after a timeout to get his bearings, Banks untied it with two free throws.
Ellsworth scored a game-high 15 points. Teammate Mark Franklin, whose only basket tied it at 44, hit eight foul shots and finished with 10 points. He is coming off an injury and contributed some solid defense. Ditto for Devlin Gren, who kept his team in it with two baskets in each of the first two periods.