By Alan Goldenbach
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 3, 2007
Austin Cooley admits Bethesda-Chevy Chase needs to work on its celebrations a bit.
As the final buzzer sounded in the 14th-ranked Barons' 45-43 home victory over Seneca Valley in the Maryland 3A West Region final, several hundred raucous B-CC fans poured onto the court to mob and hug the Barons, kicking off a 20-minute celebration that included cutting down both nets.
A little overkill? Perhaps. What would happen if the Barons were to win the state title next week at Comcast Center?
"I don't know what we'd do," said Cooley, whose three-point play with 1 minute 39 seconds left proved to be the final points of a tactically intense game. "This is kind of hard to beat."
The Barons overcame an impressive Seneca Valley game plan that slowed the pace by holding the ball for long stretches, limiting B-CC's possessions. The Screaming Eagles held the Barons to a season-low point total. It was just the third time in their past 16 games the Barons failed to reach 60 points.
"That's just how great B-CC is," said Eagles Coach Tom Sheahin, whose team lost twice in the regular season to the Barons by a combined 50 points. "It was an ugly game for the fans to watch, but it gave us a chance at the end to win it."
Seneca Valley (16-11) led for the majority of the game before B-CC went on a 19-4 run from early in the third quarter until the opening minute of the fourth quarter, turning a 28-21 deficit into a 40-32 edge. Cooley, who had battled foul trouble all game, capped the run with a three-pointer, a steal and thunderous breakaway dunk.
"We thought we were in pretty good shape," said Cooley, who scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth quarter.
But on the dunk, Cooley drew a technical foul for taunting. Seneca's Mike Williamson converted the two free throws and finished the ensuing possession, which ate up 2:48, by hitting his third three-pointer of the night.
After Maurice Pearson's layup put B-CC (21-3) ahead 42-37, Seneca Valley's Fred Branch hit another three-pointer. The Eagles regained possession on a jump ball, and point guard Bruce Massey slithered past B-CC's trio of players 6 feet 6 or taller in the lane and completed a three-point play to put Seneca Valley ahead 43-42 with 1:52 to play.
The Barons went right to Cooley on the next possession, and he banked a 12-foot leaner off the glass while drawing a foul. The free throw closed the scoring.
Seneca Valley patiently held the ball for the final 1 1/2 minutes, and after a timeout, the Eagles had an open three-pointer from the right corner that glanced off the iron and out of bounds. B-CC inbounded the ball, and two dribbles later the celebration was on.
B-CC 45 Seneca Valley 43 Tough Ticket: According to B-CC Athletic Director Tim Gilmore, there are fewer than 800 seats inside the school's gym, and last night there may have been as many fans outside the gym as inside. Some watched the game on closed-circuit television in the auxiliary gym. Others peeked through the thin windows on the doors in the gym's four corners. Up Next: B-CC will face the winner of today's 3A South Region final between Largo and Great Mills in a state semifinal Thursday at 3 p.m.