As he stood at the free throw line in front of a near-capacity crowd at Montrose Christian Academy, senior guard Wes Key did not need to think about what would transpire in the next 10 seconds.
"While everyone in the building was wondering what was going to happen next, I knew what was going to happen--I was going to make it and the game would be over," said Key, whose two free throws helped No. 10 Riverdale Baptist secure a 71-68 victory over No. 5 Montrose Christian in a Beltway League contest last night in Rockville.
"I knew this game was over."
Key's sixth and final free throw of the evening swished the net--just as the previous five did--and moments later, he found himself at the free throw line again, mobbed by teammates and fans who came from the Upper Marlboro area and stormed the court in revelry following Riverdale's seventh straight victory.
"To come in here to their house and beat Montrose is one of the most emotional victories I ever had as a player or a coach," said Riverdale Coach Walter Webb, who could not stop the tears of joy running down his face. "We believed we had a chance to come in here and win. We weren't intimidated."
Trailing 49-38 with 2 minutes 17 remaining in the third quarter, Montrose Christian (8-3, 1-1) closed the period on an 8-0 run capped by guard Marvin Lewis's three-pointer at the buzzer. Lewis and Drew Hall led Montrose with 21 points apiece.
Montrose tied the game at 57 on two free throws by Ali Berdiel with 5:56 remaining and took the lead on a short jump shot by Mohamed Diakite. But Riverdale (20-3, 2-0) maintained its composure. Guard Greg Harrison (12 points) made back-to-back three-pointers to regain the lead for Riverdale, 63-59, with 3:34 remaining.
"That's when I knew this game was over," said senior guard Kevin Bell, who scored a game-high 22 points. "From that point on, I knew there was no way we were not going to win this game."