All Ian Brenner was asking for was a little more time.
Trailing by as many as 22 points to Riverdale Baptist, Brenner's Bowling Brook team launched a furious rally and shaved the lead to five with 25 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
But the Thoroughbreds were forced to foul, and the visiting Crusaders -- who are ranked third by the Washington Post -- escaped Keymar with an 86-77 Beltway Basketball League victory last night.
Brenner, a senior forward who led all scorers with 28 points, said only one thing prevented Bowling Brook (12-12, 4-5) from the upset.
"There wasn't enough time on the clock," said Brenner, who also grabbed 10 rebounds.
Another reason was the performance of Riverdale Baptist senior shooting guard Wayne Gibson, who had a team-high 27 points and 11 rebounds.
Gibson, who scored 18 of the Crusaders' 27 third-quarter points, said two fouls in the first half forced him to the bench.
"I knew I could score, but I was just stopping myself," said Gibson, who sat out the final three minutes of the second quarter. "I'm glad Coach [Walter Webb] put me down so that I could think about my game."
Despite missing standout senior center Patrick Atanagana (flu) and getting limited minutes from senior small forward Kevin Bell (lower back) and junior center Emmanuel Witherspoon (flu), Riverdale Baptist (27-3, 8-0) broke from a 20-16 lead at the end of the first quarter with a 22-12 second quarter.
When Gibson scored his sixth basket at 5: 11 of the third quarter, the Crusaders had a 22-point lead.
With Riverdale Baptist enjoying an 82-65 lead with 3: 36 left in the fourth, Bowling Brook went on a 12-0 tear to shave the lead to five.
But Bell and Witherspoon converted four free-throw attempts in the final 16 seconds to seal the win.
Thoroughbreds senior power forward Vince Ferguson (14 points) said the team played too cautiously in the first half.
"In the first half, it was like we were trying to stay with them and just play defense," he said. "In the second half, we were attacking more."
His coach, Daryl Jackson, noticed the same thing.
"In the second half, we weren't as hesitant," he said. "We've got a lot of guys who might've had some anxiety about playing a team like this. It took a while settling in."