Sherwood 73, Whitman 66
Considering Sherwood senior forward P.J. Pleasant Jones had to guard Whitman's 6-foot-10, 205-pound Jerome Habel in last night's Montgomery County 4A/3A East league game, it was surprising that he any energy left for offense.
But with 1 minute 45 seconds remaining and his team clinging to a two-point lead, Pleasant-Jones scrapped for a loose ball and converted a difficult up-and-under reverse layin.
The shot gave Sherwood a needed dose of confidence, and the Warriors then made 7 of 8 free throws in the final 47 seconds to secure a 73-66 victory, their ninth in the last 10 games.
"You know how that goes -- 'No, P.J., No! Okay, good shot,' " Sherwood Coach Tom Crowell said of Pleasant-Jones's shot. "But that was a huge basket for us."
It was also a sign that the 6-3 Pleasant-Jones (19 points, five rebounds) had withstood his encounter with Habel. Pleasant-Jones was told not to leave Habel's side on defense, and he frequently received double- and triple-team help. But Sherwood (13-6, 6-5) could not stop the Vikings' game-altering force.
Habel, a transfer from Paint Branch, scored 30 points on a variety of jump-hooks, putbacks and powerful dunks. He also grabbed 18 rebounds, rejected four shots and made two slick touch passes for assists.
"That guy is a heck of a player," Crowell said. "He is serious."
Habel made three straight baskets at the start of the third quarter as Whitman made a 10-1 run to take a 46-41 lead. Pleasant-Jones, however, responded with two free throws, a jumper and a layup in transition to keep the Warriors afloat.
Pleasant-Jones scored on Sherwood's first possession of the fourth quarter to forge a 53-52 lead. The Warriors' Mujahid Ferguson (16 points), Eric Ansari (11 points), Scott Uyuenten (team-high 21 points) and Aaron Singleton (six points) all scored in the final quarter to keep the Vikings at bay.
Uyuenten, who made all eight of his free throw attempts, made six straight in the final 47 seconds.
Whitman (14-4, 9-4), which started the season 11-1, lost for the second time in three games. Habel, senior guard Dan Engelstad (16 points, nine assists) and senior guard Marc Gruner (14 points) accounted for 60 points.