St. Anselm's had already lost to all three teams it would play in the Potomac Valley Athletic Conference boys' basketball tournament last weekend. But after a 17-8 regular season, Coach Paul Grenaldo saw a different attitude in his team.
The Panthers won the conference postseason tournament Saturday night at Trinity College, with a 59-58 final over top-seed Grace Brethren-Clinton. They had split a pair of regular season games against Grace Brethren-Clinton. To reach the final, St. Anselm's knocked off Hebrew Academy, 55-30, in the first round and Jewish Day School, 51-42, in the semifinals.
"These are the hardest-working kids who just won't quit," Grenaldo said. "I've never seen a bunch of kids play that hard."
St. Anselm's led for most of the title game before Grace Brethren-Clinton hit back-to-back three pointers to take a four-point lead in the fourth quarter. With less than 20 seconds left, senior Ian Rose made a deep three-pointer to bring the Panthers within one.
Bill Reed (tournament most valuable player with 18 points, 16 rebounds and 4 blocks in the final) found fellow senior Greg Hill for the game-winning basket with 2.8 seconds remaining.
"The clock expired and pandemonium broke loose," Grenaldo said. "The good kind of pandemonium."