Close, but no three-pointer at buzzer stings Scorpions Brunswick escapes, 51-50, from Oakland Mills rally

March 06, 1998|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

The shot left Robert Roche's hands as the final buzzer was about to sound. Oakland Mills needed a three-pointer to tie, and all eyes at the Oakland Mills gymnasium were on the ball as it floated toward the basket.

Well, not everyone's eyes.

As soon as Roche's shot fell through the basket, the referee, staring at the spot on the three-point arc where Roche took the shot, emphatically put up two fingers, signaling a two-point basket. It was a heartbreaking -- correct -- call, giving Brunswick, of Frederick County, a 51-50 victory last night in a Class 1A semifinal game.

"You have to go with the referee's judgment," said Oakland Mills coach Dave Appleby, who did not question the call. "I thought they did a good job."

The Scorpions (14-10) have won close games all season. They beat Hammond and Wilde Lake at the buzzer, and beat River Hill in overtime after tying the game at the buzzer. In Tuesday's quarterfinal win over Catoctin, the Scorpions were down by seven with 1: 38 to play and scored the game's last nine points.

Oakland Mills senior Murray Graves scored his team's first 10 points of the fourth quarter last night and cut Brunswick's 11-point lead to five, 41-36, with 1: 45 to play.

Frank Clements then went to the free throw line for Brunswick (20-3), shooting one-and-one. He missed and Oakland Mills rebounded, but the Scorpions were called for a lane violation. Given a second chance, Clements made the first and missed the second.

But Oakland Mills' Adam Barr fouled Nathan Shankle going for the rebound, and Shankle sank both free throws for a 44-38 cushion with 1: 37 left.

"That hurt us," Appleby said of the lane violation call.

The game became a test of nerves and free throws after that. Brunswick, which will play host to Poolesville in the region final tomorrow, made nine of 10 free throws the rest of the way. Oakland Mills made eight of 13, and twice missed opportunities to tie the game from the line in the final seven seconds.

"We put ourselves in a position to win. That's all you can ask for," said Appleby. "Their zone was tough, and we never solved it pTC until the end. But it was too little too late."

Shankle, who led Brunswick with 16 points and made all six of his free throws in the fourth quarter, made two from the line to give the Railroaders a 48-44 lead with 25 seconds. Graves, who scored 15 of his game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter, made a three-point play to cut it to one with 20 seconds.

Brunswick's Mike Boyce made one of two free throws with 15 seconds for a two-point lead. Oakland Mills' Joe Ellis missed two free throws with 7.7 seconds, but teammate Allen Scott was fouled getting the rebound. He made only the second free throw.

Shankle made two free throws with five seconds, giving Brunswick the three-point lead.

Pub Date: 3/06/98

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