Tracey Turner's three-point shot bounced off the rim in overtime and seventh-ranked Springbrook held on for a 60-58 win last night at Gaithersburg.
"I don't feel badly at all," said Gaithersburg's 6-foot-5 forward Jia Simms. "They are 17-1. They are ranked seventh. And we showed we can play with them. People know now we can play with anyone whether it be in Montgomery or Prince George's County."
Indeed, it was an emotional game as Springbrook (17-1, 12-0 in division play) scored five straight points in overtime to lead, 59-54. It appeared Gaithersburg (9-8, 6-6) would finally fold. But the Trojans cut the lead to 59-56 as Turner, who led the Trojans with 19 points, sank a short jumper with 1:29 to play.
After Springbrook's Shawn Clifton, who led all scorers with 22 points, made one of two free throws to make it 60-56, the teams traded turnovers. Turner then stole a pass and scored on an easy layup to make it 60-58 with 12 seconds to play. Gaithersburg called a timeout as the crowd excitedly stomped the bleachers.
Mario Manderson took the inbound pass for the Blue Devils, but was immediately trapped and a jump ball with possession going to Gaithersburg was called with four seconds to play.
After each team took a timeout, Turner caught the inbound pass, dribbled once, turned and shot from three-point range. The ball hit the rim, bounced up off the backboard and fell wide as the buzzer sounded. Gaithersburg's players collapsed to the floor while the Blue Devils jumped and hugged one another.
"We wanted to get the ball down low to either myself or David Saunders," said Simms. "But we were both covered tightly so Tracey just shot it. And he got a good one off to."
Said Clifton, "This was the best game I've been in all year. We knew coming in they were a good team, we just didn't now how good."
Springbrook, which won its 10th straight since losing to St. John's in a holiday tournament, appeared ready to blow the Trojans out early, forcing many turnovers with its aggressive press. But as they did all game, the Trojans battled back and led, 26-23, at intermission as the Blue Devils shot just one of 10 from the field in the second quarter.
Gaithersburg stayed close by passing down low and sending the ball back to the guards. But every time Gaithersburg had an opportunity to put the game away, it fell victim to Springbrook's swarming press. Pat Kane finished with 18 points for Gaithersburg, 12 coming on three-point field goals.