Close to his­tory

St. Charles falls in over­time of 3A South sec­tion fi­nal

Maryland Independent - - Close To History - By ANDY STATES as­tates@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @cfh­philly

So close. All that stood be­tween the St. Charles Spar­tans boys bas­ket­ball team and its first re­gional champi- on­ship game ap­pear­ance was 7.2 se­conds as the vis­it­ing Po­tomac Wolver­ine pre­pared to in­bound the ball, trail­ing the Spar­tans 61-59, in Thurs­day night’s Class 3A South Re­gion Sec­tion II fi­nal.

The Spar­tans made it through all but the last few tenths of the time, but Po­tomac’s Ja­son New­man’s layup as time ex­pired sent the game to over­time where the Wol- ver­ines ul­ti­mately pre­vailed 78-67.

Po­tomac (17-7 over­all) de­feated Ma­gruder of Mont­gomery County 8164 in the 3A South champi- on­ship game on Satur­day.

Prior to New­man’s game-ty­ing drive to the bucket, St. Charles’ Shi- loh Beale had con­verted a pair of free throws to give the hosts the two-point edge in what had been a back-and-forth sec­ond half. But, fol­low­ing a tim- eout, New­man took the in­bounds pass and took the ball straight down the court and ul­ti­mately went to the hoop for a sea- son-sav­ing shot.

It was the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive game New­man found him­self in that posi- tion at the end of reg­u­la­tion, as just two days prior in the sec­tion semi­fi­nals he was fouled go­ing for a layup with just a half-sec- ond left at Hunt­ing­town. In that sit­u­a­tion he hit 1 of 2 free throws to lift the Wolver­ines to a one-point win. On Thurs­day, his bucket to close out the fourth quar­ter sent the game to an over­time ses- sion his team dom­i­nated.

“We had planned to get the ball to [Travis Hen- son] for the game-win- ning three, but there were on it heavy,” New­man said of the play at the fourth quar­ter’s end, “so I took the op­por­tu­nity to at­tack the bas­ket and get to my strength.”

Back at the game’s start, Gary Robert­son’s three-pointer just min- utes into the game gave Po­tomac an early 5-2 lead. From that point, the vis­i­tors never re­lented the lead un­til An­thony Bow­man’s bas­ket with 4 min­utes 25 se­conds left in the third quar­ter gave the Spar­tans their first lead, 37-36.

Mid­way through the fourth quar­ter, Po­tomac had re­taken the lead and ex­tended it to 55-48, but Beale scored six straight points to pull the Spar- tans to within 55-54. Later, Mer­wan Mour­taj drove the base­line and banked in a layup to put the hosts in front 59-57. But Hen­son tied the game for the Wol- ver­ines with 42 se­conds left to set up the dra­matic end to reg­u­la­tion.

In over­time, Bow­man scored first to put St. Charles in front 63-61, but Chris­tian Dy­ches im­me­di­ately re­sponded with a three for Po­tomac. St. Charles leapfrogged back in front on Mar­shawn Hall’s bucket on the en­su­ing pos­ses­sion, but Robert­son later an­swered with a bas­ket to put the Wolver­ines back in front, 66-65.

Po­tomac went on to score the next seven points to put the game away.

Robert­son led Po­tomac with 23 points and Hen­son scored 17, while Dy­ches and New­man each scored 10.

“We’re just com­ing to­gether as a fam­ily, get­ting closer and closer,” Dy­ches said. “Ev­ery game be­fore we play we pray . ... We just stick to­gether and play as a team.”

Af­ter the team sur­vived its sec­ond straight test on the road, Robert­son felt the team was only build­ing its strength in its quest for the 3A state cham­pi­onship. He also said the team is mo­ti­vated to suc­ceed for head coach Re­nard John­son, who has not been with the team.

“As we go on from game to game our bond gets stronger,” he said. “Most im­por­tantly we have two goals in mind. One, win the whole thing. And two, ev­ery game we play is for Coach John­son. Even in his ab­sence he makes us stronger. Ev­ery hump, ev­ery bruise, makes us stronger and stronger ever y time.”

Beale scored a game­high 33 points, and made 19 of 20 free throws, to lead the St. Charles ef­fort against Po­tomac.

“Ob­vi­ously the freethrow line is a big em- pha­sis,” St. Charles head coach Brett Camp­bell said. “Ev­ery free throw we take in prac­tice mat- ters be­cause ev­ery free throw you take in a game mat­ters. We don’t just shoot them to shoot them. He’s al­ways worked real hard in prac­tice and obvi- ously it’s re­flected in what he did tonight.”

Sup­ple­ment­ing Beale’s ef­fort, Hall added nine points, while Bow­man and Mour­taj each scored six. But when the game reached crunch time the Spar­tans were not able to pre­vent the Wolver­ines from scor­ing.

“We couldn’t get stops,” Camp­bell said. “Start­ing with that very last play [of reg­u­la­tion] on through over­time. Our iden­tity all sea­son and since this school has been open has been play­ing de­fense. They hit some shots, credit to them.”

De­spite the dis­ap­point- ment of Thurs­day night’s re­sult, Camp­bell was still pleased with what his pro­gram has ac­com­plished.

“We couldn’t be more proud of th­ese guys,” he said. “Two years ago our pro­gram didn’t even ex­ist. For our se­niors to take us to where we’re at now, what they’ve done on and off the court, 3.5 team GPA, just about all of them on the honor roll, we couldn’t ask more out of this group of guys . ... We have noth­ing to hang our heads about. The guys have played hard. The pro­gram is headed in the right di­rec­tion. We al­ways tell the guys, ‘Leave the jersey in a bet­ter place,’ That’s ex­actly what our se­nior class has done.”

STAFF PHOTO BY ANDY STATES

St. Charles’ Shiloh Beale, left, is en­cour­aged by team­mates be­fore go­ing to the free-throw line with 7.2 se­conds re­main­ing in the Spar­tans’ Class 3A South Re­gion Sec­tion II fi­nal with vis­it­ing Po­tomac on Thurs­day night. Beale, who scored a game-high 33 points, drained both to give the Spar­tans a two-point lead, but Po­tomac came back to force over­time and even­tu­ally topped the Spar­tans 78-67.

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