Atholton's Keith Jefferson sank an off-balance three-point shot at the buzzer to beat Oakland Mills last night, 57-56.
Fardan Carter of Oakland Mills had put his team ahead, 56-54, with eight seconds to play by converting a three-point play off a driving layup.
"I was supposed to foul Carter before he shot on that play, because we had two fouls to give, and I did -- but the officials didn't call it, so I had to make up for it," Jefferson said.
After Carter's basket, Oakland Mills' Quan Davis nearly intercepted a long in-bounds pass but lost it out of bounds, giving Atholton a last chance to in-bound the ball at its own end.
"Our first option was to go to Bryan Worsley [18 points] underneath, but they sagged on him and allowed us to kick it out to our second option," said Atholton coach Jim Albert. "I told Keith in the huddle that he'd win for us."
Jefferson (18 points) caught the pass at the top of the circle on the three-point arc and shot almost immediately despite coverage by Davis. Jefferson was tilted to the left and leaning far forward when he let the ball go.
"Quan is my best friend," Jefferson said. "But I thought I'd make it. Coach Albert relaxed me by telling me I would win it. I never hit a game-winner before, but we needed a win over a good team, and we wanted to be on top of the league coming into January."
This was the last league game for both teams until Jan. 3.
Atholton (3-2 overall, 3-0 league) moved a game ahead of Oakland Mills (2-3, 2-1).
Oakland Mills' biggest lead was eight points, 44-36, late in the third quarter. But Jefferson's two free throws tied it at 49 with three minutes left.
Carter's driving layup gave Oakland Mills a 51-49 lead, and Tom Browne's drive upped it to 53-49. But Worsley's three-point basket and a put-back by Tim Small gave Atholton the lead, 53-52, with 20 seconds left.
"We played good enough to win," said Carter, who scored 23 points, had seven rebounds, three steals and two assists. "It came down to the last play, and that's the way every game in the county could be. They fought back and made their shot."
Each team had eight turnovers in the cleanly played game.
Atholton shot a little better than Oakland Mills, hitting 22 of 50 (44 percent); the Scorpions were 24-for-61 (39 percent).
"We have a nice team, and I'm happy with them," Oakland Mills coach Dave Appleby said. "We did what we had to do, and [Atholton] made a tough shot."
Pub Date: 12/20/96