Long Reach guard Charlie Beasley's belief in the power of positive thinking paid huge dividends for her injury-plagued team last night.
Beasley bounced back from missing a free throw moments before to hit both ends of a tie-breaking one-and-one with 13.2 seconds left, and No. 13 Long Reach went on to a 60-56 victory over No. 15 Glenelg in Howard County girls basketball.
Long Reach (16-2, 14-2), now in second place in the county ahead of visiting Glenelg (14-4, 13-3), completed its season sweep of the Gladiators with a strong second half. The Lightning led for much of the second half before Chela Hamilton (15 points) sparked a Glenelg rally that tied the game at 56 in the final minute.
Beasley (11 points) missed the front end of a one-and-one with 59.3 seconds left and Long Reach up by two points. But she then made the two free throws to give the Lightning a 58-56 lead with 13.2 seconds left.
"You just have to be smart in the mind," Beasley said. "You always have to block out bad things and think about the positive. I thought I was going to hit [them]."
The teams then traded turnovers before Timisha Gomez was fouled with 2.1 seconds left. She hit two free throws to seal the victory, and coach Kevin Broadus said Gomez helped fill the void caused by injuries.
"This was her best game of the year," Broadus said. "She made her teammates better in this game."
Long Reach was without two starters, forward Whitney Ward (knee injury) and guard LyTia Blackmon (sprained ankle).
Ward said last night that doctors think she's stretched or torn the anterior cruciate ligament but won't know for sure until Feb. 17. The injury, suffered during last week's loss to No. 6 River Hill, would require surgery if torn and keep the George Mason-bound senior out for six months.
Ward is still hoping that she can play in this year's playoffs. Broadus said Blackmon's return date is unknown.
Jillian Allen, who had been on the junior varsity for stretches of this season, stepped into Ward's spot and tied Gomez for a game-high 16 points. Jordan Ambrose added 10 points in a balanced Lightning attack.
"We needed to be a little smarter at the end," said Glenelg coach Ciaran Lesikar. "They played so hard ... and had chances but you have to give Long Reach credit."