Holloway released his three-pointer with just two-tenths of a second remaining on the clock and it swished through the net, setting off a raucous celebration as fourth-ranked Paul VI beat third-ranked DeMatha, 64-62, before an overflow crowd of 1,300 on Friday night in Fairfax.
“I saw parents coming out of the stands, I saw kids coming out of stands and I saw Coach” Glenn Farello, said Holloway, who has signed to play at George Mason, whose coach, Paul Hewitt, had an excellent view of the winning shot. “I’ll be honest, I was scared. I didn’t know what to do [as a mass of people flooded the court]. I was trying to hold my balance and stay up.”
It was an exhilarating finish to a game that was close throughout, with both team’s standouts making big plays. Holloway led all scorers with 20 points, while junior swingman Stanford Robinson — with Maryland Coach Mark Turgeon in attendance to see him play — added 19 for the Panthers (18-2, 10-0 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference).
Syracuse recruit Jerami Grant
led DeMatha (17-3, 8-2) with 17 points.
It has been the emergence of Robinson and the rest of Paul VI’s supporting cast that has changed Holloway’s role this year. He had been one of the best pure scorers the previous two seasons, but this season is averaging 13.6 points per game, less than he averaged as a sophomore or junior.
“He’s done so much for us the last couple years but we’ve more balanced now,” said Farello, whose team hosts top-ranked Gonzaga (19-0, 8-0) on Tuesday. “It’s made his job easier that he hasn’t had to take so many tough shots and play as many minutes. . . . It’s very rare for a scorer to be able to accept that.”
Still, while planning the final play during a timeout with 18 seconds left, Farello said the first option was to get the ball to Holloway. He admitted to flopping trying to draw a foul while cutting across the court, so the ball went to Robinson, whose off-balance shot was not close. The rebound bounced to point guard Tilman Dunbar, who turned and passed to Holloway. Seconds later, Holloway had been hoisted in the air by jubilant classmates.
“When that ball got kicked out by Tilman, I was waiting to hear the horn,” Farello said. The victory was the Panthers’ first over the Stags since Jan. 27, 2008.