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Carroll Christian advances to finals Patriots erase deficit to beat Capitol, 63-60


HAGERSTOWN -- Coming from behind has been nothing new to Carroll Christian this season.

It was just Monday when the Patriots erased a seven-point, fourth-quarter deficit against Granite Baptist to come away with an overtime win in the finals of the Potomac Christian Athletic Conference tournament.

So when coach Randy Peterson called timeout with 2:07 left and his Patriots down by five against Capitol Christian Academy yesterday, there was no need for panic.

The Patriots responded with nine of the game's last 10 points to come away with a 63-60 win over Capitol in the Maryland Association of Christian Schools semifinals at Broadfording Christian Academy. The Patriots (16-6) advance to the state finals set for 2:30 p.m. tomorrow.

"We have such a young team with three sophomores and two juniors starting and the first kid off the bench a sophomore. But as long as the kids don't ever quit, they have a chance," Peterson said. "I just told them 'Don't quit, don't quit, don't quit.' They never have this season."

Junior guard Josh Belcher (15 points) needed just 52 seconds to get the Patriots even. He converted a steal into a layup to cut the Warriors' lead to 59-56 with 1:53 left and hit a three-pointer on the Patriots' next possession.

After Capitol (12-16) reclaimed the lead on a Brian Tyler free throw with 1:03 left, the Patriots took the lead for good when Sam Lieb scored from inside off a pass from Casey Davis.

John Brunson (15 points) hit two free throws with 15 seconds left to give the Patriots the 63-60 lead. Tyler's three-point try with three seconds left hit the back of the rim before going straight up in the air and clanking off the rim a second time.

"I was worried," Peterson said. "I knew we could come back because we've done it all year, but we didn't shoot the ball real well today."

Peterson said the scouting report on Capitol Christian, a school in Upper Marlboro, said the team was very quick, so the Patriots, who press most of the time, softened up defensively. It took them out of their offensive rhythm and Capitol had leads of at least seven points in each quarter.

"The scouting report was right, they were very quick," Peterson said. "They disrupted us a lot and we didn't shoot well. We just couldn't get in our normal flow."

In the end, the Patriots found a way to win.

"We've always been a big fourth-quarter team. We work on their mental toughness a lot in practice and another part of it is having a good bench. Everyone is always well-rested," Peterson said.

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