With 1.9 seconds left in a tie game against fifth-ranked Milford Mill on Friday, Digital Harbor's Davon Usher was looking for the inbound pass from teammate Justin Jackson because it is a play they practiced all season.
Jackson lofted the pass from about midcourt toward the 6-foot-6 Usher, who snagged the ball under the basket and then hit a fall-away jumper as time expired to give the No. 10 Rams a 49-47 victory at the 14th annual Basketball Academy at Morgan State. Usher and Jackson each had 19 points and helped Digital Harbor go on a late run to seal the victory.
"We run that play all the time in practice, and [Digital Harbor coach Johnnie Grimes] said it was the perfect time and setup to run that play," Usher said. "We took our time. I jumped as high as I could because they have a lot of athletic players on their team. I came up to see if they would foul me, but I looked at the clock, so I just put it up. It was the best one I had all season."
Jimmy Hamilton led Milford Mill with 14 points, and Tevin Hanner added 13.
With the score tied at 26 in the third quarter, Milford Mill (9-3) continued to play up-tempo and took a five-point lead on a layup by Hanner in the closing minute. Digital Harbor (9-3) continued to press, and a drive by Usher cut the margin to two midway through the final quarter.
A steal and layup by Jackson gave the Rams their first lead, 45-43, since early in the opening quarter. Neither team could pull away, and the score was tied at 47 in the final minute. Digital Harbor forced a turnover with 1.9 seconds left, and that set up the play for Usher.
"In the first half, we didn't get back on defense, and Milford Mill was getting some easy layups," Grimes said. "We had to make some changes and get back in transition. It was a little hard for us because we weren't used to this big floor. We're used to playing in a high school gym."
After the teams traded baskets throughout the first quarter, a dunk by Hamilton and a jumper by Isaiah McCray gave Milford Mill its biggest lead, 14-10, with 48 seconds remaining.
The Millers maintained control for most of the second quarter, and they extended the lead to 23-16 on a dunk by Hanner with four minutes left. Digital Harbor then took advantage of Milford Mill's foul problems. A layup by Usher in the closing minute tied the score at 26 heading into the break. The Rams made eight of 12 free throws in the first half.
MM-Goode 2, Branch 4, Hamilton 14, Hanner 13, Jackson 2, Johnson 3, McCray 9. Totals 17 8-16 47
DH-Usher 19, Brown 2, Jackson 19, Robinson 1, Torran 6, Waugh 2. Totals 18 12-16 49