It was the ninth straight day of 90 degree-plus heat -- and a record-high 101 at game time -- and a thunderstorm was in the forecast.
So Henry's Liquors' 6-foot-10, 270-pound center Mike Buecher hoped his squad's Annapolis Men's Summer Basketball League game with struggling P.J.'s Pub would be over quickly.
The game -- played in two 20-minute halves -- took just 50 minutes, but the ending, a 28-27 loss, wasn't quite what Buecher had in mind.
Ray Osborne took an inbounds pass from teammate Wordell Chambers (10 points) with one second left and banked a buzzer-beating 10-foot jumper for his only basket and the game-winner.
"I was off the whole game, but I made the one that counted," said Osborne of the victory at Truxtun Park.
"When we were setting up the play, I knew I'dbe open. Our big man (6-6 Butch Williams) screened their man (ReggieButler) real good."
The luck was a change from the misfortune that has plagued the Pub (2-5 in the Michael Jordon Division).
The team lost Friday to Pro Jersey, a game played with just five players and without Coach Matt Crow.
Henry's had jumped out to a 6-0 lead inthe first half on baskets by Juan Brown, Kerwin Matthews and John Brown.
And although Buecher (eight rebounds, five points, one block)led an attack that out-rebounded the Pub, 10-3, in that stretch, thelead soon evaporated to a 6-6 tie on back-to-back buckets by Chambers and a put-back by Tremaine Walker.
Henry's battled back to lead,12-11, at the half but the game's nip-and-tuck pattern already was established -- even though P.J.'s Pub shot miserably from the line (2-for-12).
"We just got stagnant offensively and started waiting forthings to happen," said Buecher, 37. "Our defense just let up too much. I guess we thought it would be a lot easier."
Henry's (4-2) entered the game tied with Harris and Sons for second place behind Pro Jersey (5-0) in the Magic Johnson Division. The team was unbeaten before losing, 44-39, Friday to Hunt's Movers of the Michael Jordan Division.
To start the second half last night, P.J.'s Tom Rose (six points) drove inside and nailed a jumper to give his squad a 15-12 lead.
Rose, a 6-3 forward, also canned a 12-footer, providing a 22-21 lead with just over three minutes remaining in the game.
"Both times they left me wide open, so I just took them," said Rose.
Buecher, Delano Wright (eight points) and Matthews (six points) brought Henry's back for a 27-24 lead with 37 seconds left, but Williams went inside with 15 seconds remaining to make it 27-26, setting up Osborne'scoup de grace.