Senior guard Casey Musick hit a three-point field goal with four seconds remaining to lift No. 6-ranked Cardinal Gibbons past No. 2 Southern, 63-60, and into first place in Division II of the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference at Gibbons last night.
The loss was the first in four MSA games for the defending conference champion Bulldogs (3-3 overall). Cardinal Gibbons improved to 2-0 in the MSA and 6-2 overall.
Southern, playing without senior point guard David Cason, who suffered an ankle injury in practice Thursday, had battled from as many as 12 points behind through most of the game. The Bulldogs gained only a pair of one-point leads midway through the second half.
But after going 1-for-14 from three-point range, Southern used back-to-back three-pointers by Kwame Evans and Derrick Watkins to pull even at 60 with 25 seconds to play.
"We just wanted the last shot," Gibbons coach Ray Mullis said of his instructions during a timeout at that time. "We wanted a drive if at all possible."
The drive almost turned into disaster, but the result couldn't have made Mullis happier.
Junior Eugene Marshall penetrated the lane near the foul line and slipped, but continued dribbling as he fell toward the floor. He spotted Musick just outside the three-point line at the top of the circle, got him the ball, and Musick swished the game-winner.
"It was a great move by Marshall -- unfortunately, he tripped, but he made a great athletic move," Mullis said. "I think we were really ready to play."
Musick, who finished with 17 points, crammed seven into the last four minutes, 23 seconds. His first four in that span put Gibbons back in front, 57-54. "We got a great effort from everybody," Mullis said, "and a lot of leadership out of Musick."
Gibbons had built a 39-32 lead at halftime, as Quintin Moody, who finished with 22 points and 14-for-14 free-throw shooting, scored 18.
Southern scored the first six points of the second half to close the gap to one, and it was a chess match after that.
Southern coach Meredith Smith said his team missed Cason. "It has an impact on our play," he said. "He's our leader, technically and spiritually."
However, Smith said he was pleased with the effort of freshman guard Damon Cason, who scored 12 first-half points, in extensive action replacing his older brother.
Che Evans led Southern with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Kwame Evans scored 11.
Despite the loss, Smith said he felt the Bulldogs could gain something from the game. "It's still early, and I think the kids know what they have to do," he said. "A loss is always a negative, but in this one, maybe we ironed out a few problems."