This one will give Westminster basketball coach Dave Byers nightmares for a long time.
The Owls squandered one opportunity after another last night against a highly-touted and unbeaten Montgomery Blair team and eventually lost, 48-45, in overtime at Westminster.
Westminster (4-4) had the Blazers (8-0) on the ropes several times in the fourth quarter and in overtime but could not come up with the one big play needed to knock out the visitors.
Those missed chances allowed Blair to win the game with three free throws in the final 41 seconds of overtime, breaking a 45-45 tie.
In fairness to the Blazers, they were playing without their scoring and rebounding leader, 6-foot-6 senior Khalid Shakhur, who was out with back spasms. Shakhur is averaging 23 points and 14 rebounds.
The final two Blair free throws came on the front end of one-and-one situations by Fritz Plater and Aaron Hughes.
After Plater sent Blair ahead 47-45 with 20 seconds left in overtime, Westminster's Todd Dorsey broke free in the lane for a spinning layup that rimmed the basket and fell out.
The tough miss by Dorsey was typical of the frustration that plagued Westminster all night long.
There was a long line of missed shots, bad passes and sloppy ball-handling by the Owls, who apparently were pressing too much against the Blazers who are ranked in the top 10 in the Washington metro area.
"We were playing Blair's ranking in the first half," said Byers. "We had heard a lot about them and they had just come off a win over Eastern of D.C. But our kids came back and gave us a tremendous effort. As long as they're making mistakes while going all out, I can live with that."
With four seconds left in regulation play and the score tied at 44, Matt Brightful stole the ball from Blair and had an outside chance to win the game if he had not decided to fire the ball to the basket from midcourt with two seconds left.
With 1:05 left in overtime, the Owls' Brad Scobie had a one-and-one situation at the line with the scored tied at 45. But Scobie couldn't convert, and the Blazers answered with the three straight free throws.
Blair coach Dave Scaggs said: "Obviously we missed Khalid a lot. He's our big gun. There's not a lot you can say about the way we played without him. But give Westminster credit, they worked really hard and played their hearts out."
Dorsey dove all over the court for loose balls and gave the home team chances to score when it appeared to have none.
Dorsey made two twisting shots in the lane down the stretch in regulation to tie the game at 44. He also made a couple of beautiful passes to Russell DeMont for layups midway through the fourth quarter.
"Todd played a great game," said Byers. "He never quit. Our kids played tremendous defense in the second half to come back from a 35-23 deficit [4:21 left in the third quarter]."
Dorsey finished with 12 points and five assists for the Owls, and Brightful had 13 points.
Blair was led by Felix Kwankam's 15 points and the overall quickness of Jason Miskiri.