City upsets defending champ at buzzer Fulcher's tip lifts Knights, 44-43, over T. Johnson

Class 3A boys basketball

March 13, 1998|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- Dominic Fulcher's buzzer-beating put-back of Ryan Galloway's missed baseline shot lifted No. 19-ranked City to a 44-43 upset of defending Class 3A state champion Thomas Johnson at the University of Maryland's Cole Field House yesterday.

The decisive play began with 6.3 seconds left, as Warren Smith (11 points, 11 rebounds) inbounded the ball to Kyle Pompey just on City's side of midcourt. Galloway briefly lost control of Pompey's pass at the near-side baseline but managed to shoot with 1.3 seconds to go.

Fulcher said he spun around the Patriots' Chris Williams (19 points, 12 rebounds) and pushed the ball over the rim.

"I was going to dunk it, but I just said, 'Let me make sure it goes in.' So I just tipped it, and that was game," said the 6-foot-4 Fulcher, who finished with 12 points and was six-for-seven from the field in the Knights' eighth straight victory.

Said Thomas Johnson coach Tom Dickman, whose teams have won six state titles over 24 seasons: "It was a fluke play, but sometimes you have to be a little lucky to be in position to win games like this. My kids put it on the line today. [City] didn't surprise us at all. Both teams played hard. We missed a couple easy shots. We let a few get by us."

Thomas Johnson (20-7), ranked No. 2 in the Frederick County area, had taken a 43-42 lead with nine seconds left after gaining possession of a similar pass by Smith and getting lay-up by Chad Dickman (eight points).

For City (16-11), which plays Prince George's County's Friendly for the Class 3A state championship tomorrow, Kenny Carter contributed only seven points but was 5-for-7 at the line in the fourth period.

City trailed by as much as 10-2 in the first period, 14-8 after one quarter, and 25-21 at the half. But unlike last season, when it slipped so far behind it was blown out by eventual Class 2A state champ Surrattsville, coach Daryl Wade's Knights weren't ready to go home this time.

Thomas Johnson is "a very patient team," Wade said. "I was nervous, but the kids never had any doubts. All week long, our talk was playing good defense and following the shot. Those were two elements our our game that the kids were able to execute."

The Knights were within 29-27 with 1: 57 remaining in the third period after Galloway's put-back. And he had another put-back as the third quarter ended, pulling the Knights to two points down at 31-29 heading into the fourth. Fulcher tied the game at 31, and with 6: 38 to play, Galloway's jumper gave the Knights their first lead, 33-31.

Pub Date: 3/13/98

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