It was only 10 seconds, but to Pikesville boys basketball coach Craig Amos, "it seemed like an eternity."
The visiting Panthers, clinging to a one-point lead over No. 12 Randallstown in the Baltimore County championship game last night, had to endure a critical turnover and two subsequent attempts at the game-winning basket before breathing a sigh of relief and taking home the county crown with a 54-53 victory.
"If it [the shot] goes, you lose. If it doesn't, you win. It seems like an eternity when that ball's floating in the air," Amos said.
The win was a huge confidence booster for the 18th-ranked Panthers (19-2), the underdogs last night, heading into the Class 1A regional playoffs.
"A lot of people did not think that we were capable of winning the county," said Amos, whose team made it to the Class 1A state title game last season. "They just kind of overlooked us, and that's been our advantage throughout the whole season. When they overlook us, we really try to play fundamental basketball, and hopefully that will be the difference in a one-point game."
The tense final moments began when the Panthers' Eddie Osefo went to the line to shoot a one-and-one with 34 seconds left and Pikesville leading 54-53.
With the Pikesville fans chanting, "Ed-die! Ed-die!" his first attempt rimmed out and Antonio McMillion grabbed the rebound for the Rams.
Randallstown (19-3) ran the clock down to 15 seconds before Brian Miles attempted a shot just inside the three-point arc. Osefo pulled down the rebound, but his pass was intercepted by Antoine Jordan near midcourt.
Off-balance, Jordan took a wild shot that hit off the backboard. Barry Smith came up with the rebound after a scramble for the ball and tried a follow shot that hit off the front of the rim as time expired.
Such a dramatic finish seemed unlikely in the first quarter, when Randallstown threatened to turn the game into a rout.
The Rams used a 10-0 run to take a 16-4 lead with 1: 59 left in the quarter. Jordan, who finished with a game-high 21 points, scored eight in the spurt, including two three-pointers.
Pikesville pulled within 18-10 by the end of the quarter.
"We knew before the game that the game was going to be hard, but we had the team to play with them," said Pikesville junior forward Clement Sorgho, who scored a team-high 18 points.
The second quarter belonged to Sorgho, who scored 10 on 4-for-6 shooting and helped the Panthers pull to 31-28 at halftime.
No. 6 Archbishop Spalding 70, No. 5 Towson Catholic 53: All-Metro point guard Derrick Snowden showed why Baltimore Catholic League coaches voted him the Player of the Year as he led Archbishop Spalding to a rout of Towson Catholic in a playoff for the regular-season title at Mount St. Joseph.
Snowden had 22 points and was 12-for-13 from the line to pace the Cavaliers' 32-for-38 free-throw shooting performance.