James Madison High School shot a miserable 35 percent from the floor but did all the little things right down the stretch, including sinking free throws, and held on to defeat Potomac (Md.), 62-58, for the championship of the second annual Washington Post Holiday Classic last night at Georgetown University's McDonough Gymnasium.
Led by the inside play of 6-foot-9 Bart Lammersen (15 points) and floor leader Chris Hardy (19), the Warhawks (7-0) took advantage of Potomac errors and poor free throw shooting to increase a six-point halftime advantage to what appeared to be a comfortable 41-27 lead with 5:49 left in the third period.
But the hustling Braves (5-2) started forcing turnovers and getting some easy baskets. Rob Garner (23 points) had six points and Clarence Pritchet made a layup to cap a 15-2 run that cut the deficit to 43-42 with 1:40 to play in the period.
The Braves pulled even at 55 on a bank shot by Patrick Evans with 2:31 left. But the Prince George's power could not take the lead, mainly because of its woeful shooting from the line and several unwise shots from the floor.
"Once again our free throw shooting haunted us," said Potomac Coach Taft Hickman, referring to his team's six-for-19 performance from the line. "We make them, we win."
Undoubtedly had the Braves not missed nine free throws, including the front ends of one-and-one situations on four occasions, Madison might not have had reason to celebrate last night.
In between Potomac mistakes, the Madison players took turns going to the free throw line (making 19 of 28). A three-point play by Grant Lammersen, Bart's brother, put his team ahead to stay at 58-55 with 2:21 left.
Potomac missed its next six shots from the field and Kevin Wenk sank two of four free throws to push the Warhawks' lead to five with 28 seconds left. Bart Lammersen made a big defensive play when he blocked a shot and grabbed one of his 15 rebounds to keep the lead at five.
With 21 seconds left, Garner made a three-point basket and the Braves were still alive. Wenk missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving Potomac a chance to tie with 19 seconds left.
Garner tried to put up a short leaning shot over the lanky Lammerson, but the ball caromed off the rim and Grant Lammersen came down with the rebound. He was fouled and made both free throws to give his team a four-point cushion and the tournament title.
Nii Nelson-Richards had 18 points to lead Good Counsel past Chantilly, 58-52, for third place. Kobie Taylor's 21 points helped Coolidge edge Springbrook, 53-52, for fifth. Michael Jarvis had 19 points as Bethesda-Chevy Chase defeated Flint Hill, 61-60, for seventh. M (7-0) -- Illidge 11, G. Lammersen 7, B. Lammersen 15, Wenk 4, Hardy 19, McCullough 4, Wilcox 2. Totals 20 19 62. P (5-2) -- Prichet 4, Burns 5, Evans 4, Mason 10, Garner 23, Downs 4, Jones 1, Rice 5, Dixon 2. Totals 23 6 58.
Halftime: Madison, 33-26.
Three-point goals: Madison 1 (Hardy); Potomac 2 (Garner, Rice.)