Virginia boys tournaments: Mad dash and fortunate flip help Potomac Falls finish off Tabb

Potomac Falls squeaked by Tabb, 46-44, to win the Virginia AA state boys' basketball quarter-finals.
From Staff Reports
Saturday, March 5, 2011; 11:52 PM

Through three quarters of its AA Division 4 quarterfinal rematch with Tabb, Potomac Falls was flustered by a physical zone defense and the first team it had seen all season that could mirror its depth. And after rallying from a 13-point second-half deficit, the Panthers needed one final stop with 16 seconds left just to force overtime.

An errant pass to the top of the key sent Tabb's Quinlin McCormick and Potomac Falls senior Lukas Mihailovich racing into the back court as the clock wound down.

Mihailovich snatched the ball away in the final two seconds, absorbed body contact and flipped the ball off the glass, around the rim and in to seal a dramatic 46-44 victory and send the Panthers back to Richmond to defend their state title.

"I just saw the ball and I had to go after it with everything I had," said Mihailovich, who struggled offensively all night and finished with six points. "I think it looked pretty ugly, but it rolled around and went in."

Junior center Greg Graves kept Potomac Falls in the game with a game-high 20 points and 10 rebounds to make up for his team's perimeter struggles. Still the Panthers (28-1) trailed by 11 at the half - their largest halftime deficit of the season - and had to press, trap and scrap defensively to climb back into the game. Potomac Falls will face Christiansburg at the Siegel Center in a Wednesday semifinal.

l I.C. NORCOM 49, ANNANDALE 43: For nearly 30 minutes of Saturday's Virginia AAA quarterfinal game against defending state champion and nationally ranked I.C. Norcom, the Atoms ignored every possible reason why they could have folded: lack of size, athleticism and strength.

Annandale used a stellar defensive effort to hold Norcom's quick guards and large front line in check throughout most of the game. But two turnovers in the final two minutes doomed the Atoms at William & Mary's Kaplan Arena in a game that featured five lead changes, six ties and no lead larger than six points.

"Tonight we showed a little more heart than they did," said Annandale senior guard Karl Ziegler, who had a team-high 14 points. "We really strapped up on defense and had each other's back and that's kind of what lead to us playing so well."

Ziegler's layup with nearly two minutes left cut the deficit to 45-43. And after a Norcom (28-1) layup, the Atoms couldn't score on the next three possessions.

Annandale (19-9) capped the best season in school history with its first appearance in the state tournament.

"Even though we lost, we still, as Coach said, got our name on the map," said Sanar Shamdeen, who hit four key three-pointers throughout the game. "Everybody knows we're tough."

l HIGHLAND SPRINGS 69, POTOMAC 56: No. 16 Potomac likes to run, but Saturday night in the Virginia AAA quarterfinals against Highland Springs, they encountered a team that maybe liked to run a little more.

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