COLLEGE PARK -- Oxon Hill overcame a 10-point deficit over the final 4 1/2 minutes of a Class 4A semifinal against No. 2-ranked Mervo to pull out a come-from-behind 73-70 victory at the University of Maryland's Cole Field House last night.
The Clippers earned the right to play tomorrow against Gaithersburg (26-1), which beat Annapolis, 70-64.
Mervo (20-5), winner of five straight entering the game, led 67-57 before Oxon Hill's 6-0 run cut the deficit to four with 2: 10 remaining. Then a layup by 6-foot-7, 240-pound sophomore Michael Sweetney (19 points, seven rebounds, four blocks) trimmed it to three (68-65) with 1: 34 left to play.
Trailing 70-67 with 1: 13 to go, Sweetney was fouled as he scored on a bucket in the paint, but he missed the foul shot and Mervo's lead remained 70-69. Oxon Hill's Jason Jackson also missed a pair of free throws, but a jumper by Ryan Gorham (17 points) put the Clippers ahead, 71-70, with 34 seconds left.
On Mervo's next series, three consecutive players missed put-back attempts before Sweetney -- fouled on the defensive rebound -- sank two free throws for a 73-70 lead with 8.2 seconds left.
After that, "We tried to get it down the sideline to set up a three-point attempt in the corner," said Mervo coach Woody Williams. "I thought we should have gotten a foul call [on Damien Jenifer's last-ditch three-point attempt], but that's just part of the game."
Oxon Hill (22-5), in its first final four since 1957, has won eight straight games.
Jenifer led the Mustangs with 25 points, followed by 6-6 Hugh Brown (16) and Marcus Hatten (14).
Jenifer scored the first two points of the third period, then launched an alley-oop pass for a dunk by Hatten with 7: 09 left in the period. But it was 41-all after Sharpe's alley-oop dunk with 5: 31 left in the period.
Mervo mounted a 10-3 run, ending with Melvin Bridges' layup off a pass from Jenifer for a 51-45 lead with 2: 44 left in the period. TTC Mervo took a 57-53 lead into the final period.
Mervo's Hatten generated the offense in the first period, grabbing four rebounds, blocking a shot, making two steals and assisting on two baskets.
One of those assists was on the 6-foot Jenifer's fast-break, double-handed dunk for a 19-12 lead that forced an Oxon Hill timeout with 2: 31 left in the first period.
Jenifer had 13 points, and Brown eight in the first period, after which the Mustangs led, 27-18.
The Clippers' Ryan Gorham, who had nine points on first period three-pointers, left the game briefly with a cut on his forehead after colliding with another player.
Pub Date: 3/13/98