It came down to making plays last night in Harwood, as No. 9 Broadneck (12-4, 10-1) escaped with a 53-50 victory over No. 20 Southern (10-7, 7-5).
Simply, the visiting Bruins made the big plays down the stretch and held onto first place in the Anne Arundel County South Division in so doing.
Jamaine Young's lay-in with 53 seconds remaining put the Bruins up at 51-50 after they had relinquished the lead (50-49) on a pair of free throws by Derek Hawkins (12 points). Double- and triple-teamed most of the night, Young was held to one point in the first half, none in the third, but tossed in six at crunch time.
After Young's crucial basket, a mad scramble for a loose ball ensued and Mike Tasker (15 points, two steals) was fouled with 21 seconds on the clock. Tasker sank two from the line to make it 53-50 Broadneck.
At the other end, Southern did not get off a good shot in two attempts at the basket and Young (seven points, seven boards, four assists) came down with the rebound as the buzzer sounded.
"That's exactly what we did, made plays to win the game here where it is very tough to win," said Broadneck coach Ken Kazmarek. "Southern has been playing everybody extremely well and taking a lot of teams to the wire.
"We had to come down here and show that we have not lost our focus, and are still sharp."
After John Williams (17 points, nine rebounds) picked up his fourth foul seconds into the final period, Young, Tasker and Renardo Walker (nine points including a put back with 1:23 left for a 49-48 lead) had to take over.
They rose to the occasion in a game that never separated the teams by more than five points.
The plan of Southern coach Tom Albright was to contain and collapse on the 6-foot-1 Young, who had scored 50 points in two games last week and came in averaging over 20 points. It nearly worked.
Southern's 6-4 center Matt Thomas and 6-1 forwards Scott Crandell and Derek Hawkins did all they could do to keep Young from beating them underneath. All seven of Young's rebounds were on the defensive side.
"We did as well as anybody has against him, but we did some things at the end we could have done better," said Albright, whose team was coming off a heartbreaking 50-48 loss at Old Mill on Thursday. "We've been in a lot of tough games, and I'm not unhappy at all with these kids."
The loss just about eliminated Southern from the South Division race and a berth in the first county championship game (North vs. South) on Feb. 20. Broadneck is being chased by No. 6 Annapolis (Bruins host Friday) and No. 18 Arundel in the South and the Bruins' visible jubilation afterward on the court indicated they want to be there.