Brett Benjamin sank a 15-foot fadeaway jumper at the buzzer to give Friends a 61-60 upset of host Park in a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association C Conference semifinal yesterday.
Friends (11-13) will play Glenelg Country School in the conference championship game Saturday at Villa Julie. The Dragons beat Beth Tfiloh, 42-40, last night in the other semifinal.
Benjamin (23 points) scored five points as Friends came up with the game's final seven to steal the victory. The Quakers trailed 60-54 after Keith Ganzenmuller made two free throws for Park (14-8) with 49.4 seconds left. But Charles Nixon cut the lead to four with a put-back of a Benjamin miss with 39 seconds left.
Park then turned the ball over on its next possession before Benjamin sliced the lead to 60-59 with 13.8 seconds on his fifth three-pointer. The Bruins then could not get the ball inbounds on their next possession, and the Quakers got it back under the Park basket with 12.1 seconds left.
James Flinn (15 points) passed the ball to Benjamin after Friends inbounded it. Benjamin pump-faked and, with Hal Kronsberg in his face, sank the jumper to spark a wild celebration by the Friends fans who came to Park.
"That's what I'm here for," said Benjamin, who scored 12 in the third quarter alone. "I wanted the ball. I wanted this game, and I've wanted it ever since I knew we would play Park."
Friends led for much of the game, doing a great job of shutting down Ganzenmuller, one of the area's leading scorers. Flinn, Jesse Swain and Scott Fritze rotated on the Park senior, limiting him to 14 points, including just five in the first half.
Greenberg's steal wins for Glenelg C.S.
Eric Greenberg foiled Beth Tfiloh's plans of holding the ball for the last shot by making a steal at mid-court and following it with a layup with 25 seconds left to give visiting Glenelg Country School (19-4) with a victory over the Warriors in the other MIAA C semifinal.
After Joey Samuel of Beth Tfiloh (15-9) made a three-pointer to tie the game at 40 with 2: 51 left and the Dragons missed their next shot, the Warriors spread the floor and held the ball. They called time out with 43 seconds left, and coach Chuck Monninger told them to wait for a layup or, failing that, just to go to overtime.
But Greenberg ruined those plans. Glenelg Country School coach John Aquila told his team it could try for a steal as it had two fouls to give. Greenberg then poked the ball away from Samuel at mid-court. Jason Greenberg picked it up and passed it back to his brother, who made a layup for a 42-40 lead.
"I was just trying for the ball and to give a foul," said Eric Greenberg, who finished with seven points. "We had two fouls to give, but I got all of the ball."
The Warriors missed their next shot, and the Dragons turned it over with four seconds left. Beth Tfiloh's Eli Pristoop (10 points) tried a 25-foot, three-point shot at the buzzer, but it bounced off the rim.