Derrick Sesker hit a layup with three seconds left in overtime to lift visiting Gwynn Park of Prince George's County to the Class 3A East Regional boys basketball championship, 70-68, over No. 2 Annapolis last night.
Laronja Owens, who led Annapolis (25-1) with 21 points, fired up a desperation three-pointer near midcourt that came up short as the buzzer sounded in front of an overflow crowd.
Sesker, a senior, scored eight of his 18 points in overtime after a controversial ending to regulation with the score tied at 55.
Senior Louis Hinnant, who finished with a game-high 27 points for Gwynn Park (23-2), tied the score at 55 on a three-pointer with 17 seconds left in regulation.
Chet Feldmann inbounded the ball to Owens, who was held up in the backcourt by a full-court trap and was called for a 10-second violation with six seconds remaining. But when the play began, the clock read 15 seconds.
Panthers coach John Brady was unhappy with the call, and felt that Owens was fouled on a steal attempt "just before he [referee Ken Hartzler] made the call."
Hartzler said he made the right call because the count is done on the court.
"If the clock doesn't start on time as soon as that ball is inbounded, the count starts," Hartzler said. "In my opinion, it was more than 10 seconds ... but right as the whistle was blown, the ball was stolen going the other way. If you noticed, wasn't it?"
When asked if he is required to glance at the clock before making the 10-second call, Hartzler declined to say, only adding, "There was too much going on."
Gwynn Park was awarded the basketball, but Hinnant lost control of the ball on an attempted layup to win the game, and it went out of bounds with three seconds left.
In overtime, the score was tied at 64, 66 and 68, the last time on two free throws by the Panthers' Freddie Allen, who finished with 20 points.
Allen also had eight rebounds picking up for 6-foot-6 junior Josh Johnson, who fouled out with 12 points and nine rebounds and 1:56 left in the final period.
The Yellow Jackets advanced to play South Carroll, a 54-53 winner over Walter Johnson, in the 3A state semifinals at 3 p.m. Thursday at Cole Field House in College Park.
Gwynn Park has won 10 state titles, with the previous one coming in 1988. It was a finalist in 1999 and 2000, the past two times it has been to the final four.