OXON HILL -- South River boys basketball coach Ken Dunn found it hard to criticize his team after its 81-70 loss last night to Potomac in the Class 3A, Region IV semifinals.
Of course, he was a little upset with the numerous missed layups and the Seahawks' 14-for-23 performance from the foul line, but with a roster filled with underclassman, Dunn couldn't complain too much.
"We gave it a good effort," said Dunn, whose season ended last year against the same team in the same round. "I wouldn't trade our effort tonight for anything. I would take that effort from our team every day and every night.
"We showed we can keep that basketball intensity up, now we have to use that intelligence.
The Seahawks (15-8), who advanced by nipping McDonough, 60-59, in Monday's opening round, were forced to play catch-up after a 9-2 run by the Braves at the start.
South River's backcourt managed to get the ball inside to its three big men -- Darren Hall, Robert Randall and Jason Fullmer, but the three seniors couldn't find the touch off the glass and the Seahawks trailed 17-11 after one quarter.
No. 2 seed Potomac (20-3) of Prince George's County, which will meet the winner of the matchup between top-seeded Calvert and No. 4 Gwynn Park in tomorrow's regional final, got its transition game going in the second quarter and jumped to a 27-13 lead on a breakaway layup by Matt Brown (21 points).
South River responded with three-pointers by Corey Davis and Jason Dine and a jumper by Hall to pull to 29-23 with 1:37 left.
"We started horribly with missed layups and bad passes and they came right after us and we got down real quick," said Dunn, whose team trailed 31-27 at the half. "When you have to make a run at a team that deep, that quick and that talented, you run yourself out a little bit."
The Braves, ranked sixth in the Washington area, went to their big man -- 6-foot-7, 315-pound William Peters -- in the third quarter and he came up big, scoring four straight baskets to keep his team ahead, 39-36.
The Seahawks' 6-7 player, Hall, kept South River's hopes alive by converting some circus shots in traffic. Hall played well but his contributions didn't meet his own personal standards.
"We just missed too many foul shots and too many layups," said Hall, who scored a game-high 27 despite his 3-for-10 effort at the foul line. "We thought we could beat them but they hit their foul shots and made their layups and we didn't."
South River's last-ditch effort to make a run at Potomac failed when the Braves hit 18 of 22 foul shots in the fourth quarter.
"We can go nine deep and I think we were just a little bit deeper than them tonight," said Potomac coach Taft Hickman. "We knew South River was streaky. They can score a lot of points on you in a hurry. Their half-court trap bothered us a little bit and we turned the ball over a few times, but we settled down and played OK."