Southern of Baltimore coach Michael Wise believes his Bulldogs have been forgotten.
It's fair to say, though, that Lansdowne won't forget them.
Senior forward Sheldon Walker hit a game-winning layup with 16.5 seconds left to power the host Southern boys basketball team to a 42-40 victory over the Vikings last night in the Class 2A North regional final.
The Bulldogs (14-8) advanced to the state semifinals for the first time since 2000 and will meet South regional winner Central at 9 p.m. Friday at the Comcast Center in College Park. Central beat Southern of Anne Arundel, 81-64, last night.
Southern of Baltimore started the season ranked 18th, but dropped out of the Top 20 after the first week. The Bulldogs, however, will have an opportunity to claim their fourth state championship since 1993.
"No one believed we had a chance," Wise said. "We dropped out of the rankings and people forgot about us. ... We're right back where we thought we would be."
That Southern would be in this position seemed remote when Lansdowne (16-8) enjoyed a 10-point lead early in the second quarter and a 30-24 advantage at halftime.
But junior guard Devin Goode's jumper with 3:12 left in the third quarter capped an 11-4 run that gave Southern its first lead of the game, 35-34, since the two-minute mark of the first quarter.
The Vikings rallied and took a 40-37 lead off a basket by senior guard Vinnie Rigatuso with less than four minutes left in the game.
That's when sophomore guard Reginald Holmes made his mark for the Bulldogs.
His three-pointer from the left wing tied the score at 40 with 1:04 left. After Lansdowne missed on its ensuing possession, Holmes narrowly evaded a turnover near half court and passed the ball to junior guard Trannie Hayes, who, in turn, relayed the ball to Walker underneath for the layup.
On the Vikings' next possession, Holmes (13 points and three rebounds) stripped junior guard John Jarboe of the ball to seal the win.
"I made him go with his right hand," Holmes said of the steal. "He couldn't go back to his left because my man was on the other side. So I stripped him."
Lansdowne senior forward Ryan Davis and junior center Chris Gilliam finished with 10 points each.
The Vikings haven't been to a state semifinal since 1970 -- a fact that didn't escape coach Doug Goff.
"We talked about how we had a chance to get somewhere that nobody has gone in a long time," said Goff, who watched Southern's fans storm the court after the game. "The ball just didn't bounce our way."
L--Carter 3, Davis 10, Rigatuso 8, Jarboe 9, Gilliam 10. Totals 16 6-7 40. S--Hayes 9, Goode 2, Green 13, Holmes 13, Walker 5. Totals 15 8-12 42. Half: L, 30-24.