Randallstown rallies in fourth to defeat C. M. Wright, 66-65 3A NORTH BOYS

March 04, 1995|By Mike Frainie | Mike Frainie,Special to The Sun

Randallstown coach Kim Rivers played a hunch. With his team leading C. M. Wright by a point with 35 seconds left, Rivers substituted reserve forward Raymond Smith for Lance Anderson, the Rams' leading scorer.

"Lance had the flu and wasn't playing very well," said Rivers. "Raymond is our best defensive player, and I knew he would get it done."

He did, but at the other end. After the Mustangs used Pete Troilo's basket to take the lead, Smith followed a miss by D. J. Ward with five seconds left to give top-seeded and No. 7 Randallstown a 66-65 victory, capping a 14-point fourth-quarter comeback.

The Rams (23-1) won their second straight Class 3A North Region title and advanced to Thursday's state semifinals at Cole Field House.

On the final play, Ward dribbled along the baseline and tried a reverse layup, but the shot bounced off the rim and into Smith's hands.

"At first I thought I should pull it back out and set up, but I remembered the time," said Smith, a transfer to Randallstown this year from Mount St. Joseph. "I tired a pump fake to get a foul, but the lane opened up, and I took it."

The Mustangs (19-5), who had used all their timeouts, tried to inbound the ball, but a Randallstown player tipped the pass, and the clock expired, setting off a wild celebration.

The Rams won despite being outplayed by the slower but more methodical Mustangs for the first three quarters.

Randallstown trailed by 14 with 6:33 left before rallying.

Rivers said the poise his team showed down the stretch was a key.

"I told them to calm down and not loose their composure," said Rivers. "We cut the lead to five with four minutes left, so I knew we had a chance."

Ward paced the Rams' comeback, scoring 17 of his game-high 30 points in the fourth quarter.

Marcus Perkins led the Mustangs with 21 points.

"We knew we had to stay together," said Ward. "I'm a senior captain, so I just did what I had to do."

The Mustangs played a half-court game most of the night, slowing the Randallstown offense to a crawl, but got away from their strategy in the fourth quarter.

"We took better care of the ball [early in the game]," said C. M. Wright's coach George Constantine. "They went to a man-to-man [in the fourth quarter] and it took us out of our offense."

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