For probably one of the few occasions this season, Cardinal Gibbons wasn't at a size disadvantage when it faced visiting Poly yesterday.
But the No. 5 Crusaders (10-4, 4-0) almost wasted the opportunity, surrendering a 16-point lead with 2 minutes, 54 seconds remaining in regulation. Then, they went into overtime and held on for a 77-75 victory over the No. 7 Engineers (6-5, 2-4), in a Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference Division II contest.
Cardinal Gibbons junior guard Quintin Moody hit a pair of free throws with five seconds remaining in overtime after he was fouled on a sideline drive to the basket by Melvin Pringle.
"I was thinking about St. Frances last year, when I made the first one and missed the second one," said Moody, recalling the situation in a close loss. "I felt I didn't step off the line in that game, but this time, I stepped off and felt more confident."
The Engineers' last attempt to win came up short as Ian Smith's shot missed at the buzzer.
Poly led, 75-71, with 1:50 left in overtime after a basket by Smith and a pair of free throws by Tony Jenkins.
With 1:42 remaining, Casey Musick hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 75-73. Musick broke open with 31 seconds left for the tying points on a pass from Ross Peacock, after the Crusaders had failed to convert on a pair of one-and-one opportunities off missed shots by Poly.
With 16 seconds left, the Engineers' Antwaine Smith missed a jumper, and Damon Fleary pulled down the rebound for Cardinal Gibbons. Fleary got the ball to Peacock, who pushed it up court to Moody, and he drove to the basket and was fouled.
"We had to start over and forget about what happened in regulation," said Moody, who scored 25 points. "The coaches felt we were kind of scared, so they told us to get out there and play, and keep our heads in it."
After beginning the fourth quarter with a 17-6 run, Cardinal Gibbons seemingly was in control at 70-54, but managed only a free throw for the remainder of regulation.
With Ian Smith coming off the bench to score 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter, including the tying basket with 18 seconds left, the Engineers pulled even, thanks also in part to three three-pointers in the last 1:34 of regulation.
"I was amazed that we were able to pressure such a good ball-handling team," said Poly coach Bucky Kimmett. "Just give my team credit because they decided they could do it, and we were fortunate to knock in every shot we took in that span. And give them [Cardinal Gibbons] credit for coming back the way they did."
Musick led the Crusaders with 27 points. Tony Jenkins, who carried Poly for the first three quarters, also finished with 27. Michael Gaines added 14 points and 10 rebounds.