The play-by-play will show Marcus Perkins made both ends of successive one-and-one opportunities inside of the final 11 seconds to secure a 60-56 victory for C. Milton Wright at Dundalk, but this regional game was likely determined two minutes into the third quarter.
Wright (19-5), the Harford County champion and winner of eight straight and 18 of its last 19, now moves on to the Class 3A North final at Randallstown tomorrow night. Dundalk ended its season 19-4.
Early in the third quarter, reserve Mario Smith hit a three-point shot for a 31-27 Dundalk lead.
The visitors missed their next five shots before 6-foot-7 Chris Rueckert went down the lane for a monstrous jam over 6-foot-6 defender Dan Thorpe.
The basket was good and Thorpe was whistled for a foul, his fourth. He had picked up three fouls in less than four minutes and was not a factor thereafter. He wound up with four points.
Rueckert, meanwhile, came alive in the second half with 14 points and ended with 19. Fisher backed him with 12, followed by the outside leaders, Pete Troilo and Rob Spicer, who handled the ball and played solid defense.
"That really hurt us," Dundalk coach Andy Pons said of Thorpe's fourth foul. "We wanted them to play our [running] game, but then we didn't make the shots."
Wright played a lot of man-to-man defense in the first half, then showed a 3-2 zone after the break, trying to keep hands in the faces of the Owls' long-range shooters.
Although the defenders were there, Tom Duschel had four potential three-pointers rattle the rim, look in the basket and spin out in the last four minutes. Sandwiched in there was a blown layup as the Owls fought to get back into the game after falling down by 53-46.
A basket by Duane Fisher pushed Wright ahead by its widest margin, 55-46, with three minutes left, but the home team wasn't done.
A 15-foot shot and two driving layups brought Dundalk within 56-54 with 45 seconds left. The Owls later missed two three-point tries, and Perkins followed with his foul shots.
Wright was able to first build its lead and later hold on through its free-throw work, as it was in the one-and-one with 11 minutes to go. At one point, the Mustangs had made six shots in a row and seven of a possible 10, with reserve Chris Russell going four-for-four on his way to a nine-point effort.