COLLEGE PARK -- When you're young, it doesn't take long to go from elation to frustration. For Long Reach, it took about 48 hours.
On Thursday, the ninth-ranked Lightning boys basketball team capped an improbable comeback with a victory over top-ranked Lake Clifton.
Yesterday, it couldn't get going early before falling to Prince George's County's Largo, 84-58, in the Class 3A state championship at Comcast Center.
Klevin Pollard led Largo - ranked ninth in the Washington area - with 21 points. Obi Ukwuoma scored 19 points to pace Long Reach.
"We played two extremely talented teams," Long Reach coach Al Moraz Jr. said of Lake Clifton and Largo. "We did talk about [a letdown] a little, but we tried to stay positive in our preparation. We were on such a high after beating Lake Clifton and, unfortunately, it didn't carry over."
For whatever reason, the talented Lightning came out somewhat flat against the quicker and taller Lions.
Long Reach (25-3) had trouble early with Largo's attacking guards and 6-foot-11 Maurice Sutton. When Long Reach did get shots, they weren't falling. The Lightning shot 29 percent (9-for-29) in the first half.
Largo's aggressiveness forced the Lightning into early fouls and early trips to the line for the Lions (23-4). In fact, nine of Largo's first 11 points came from the foul line while building an 11-4 lead with 2:51 left in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Lions - behind Sutton and 6-4 guard Aaron Martin (14 rebounds) - began to assert themselves. The pair scored 12 of Largo's 24 points in the second quarter to run the lead to 43-21 at the half.
Largo shot 13 of 14 from the free-throw line and out-rebounded Long Reach 28-11 in the first half.
Long Reach played better in the second half and began to cut into the deficit. The Lightning used a layup and a foul shot by Deon Queen to cut the deficit to 15 at 59-44 with 6:11 left in the game, but Largo answered on its next possession when Pollard hit a three-pointer to make the score 62-44 with 5:38 left.
After Queen scored on a jumper the next trip down the floor, Largo went on an 8-0 run to put the game away.
The championship was the second for Largo, with the other coming in 1993. The Lions lost, 60-51, to River Hill in last year's final.
Moraz was complimentary of Largo, but also of his own team.
"They have a heck of a squad, and my hat's off to them," said Moraz, who coached Long Reach to its only state title in 2006. "I'm extremely proud of our kids for making it here. They never quit."
Ukwuoma summed things up for Long Reach.
"It was very frustrating," he said. "We missed a couple of shots and got way behind and couldn't come back. They were the better team tonight."