In the biggest moment of a game, Will Robinson Jr. will be there.
His Oakland Mills teammates know this — even more so after the senior came up clutch when the Scorpions’ last two playoff games came down to the wire.
Saturday’s Maryland 2A state championship game against Patterson at Xfinity Center was no different. And after the Scorpions saw their commanding lead evaporate in the fourth quarter, Robinson made sure their season wouldn’t end with a loss.
With his team trailing for the first time in the final two minutes, Robinson crashed the boards on a shot attempt that clanked off the left side of the rim. He tipped the ball into the hoop for his lone field goal of the final period to help the Scorpions recapture the momentum and pull out a 64-55 victory in College Park.
The win gave No. 14 Oakland Mills (23-3) its first state championship since 1990.
“Every time we get down or we need a play, we look for Will,” junior guard Tre’von Hopkins said.
Patterson’s goal in the second half was to take Robinson away with a box-and-one defense. The strategy surprised Scorpions Coach Jon Browne, given his other playmakers, and Oakland Mills watched its 11-point halftime lead turn into a 52-51 deficit with three minutes remaining.
“I never thought I’d see [a box-and-one],” Browne said. “It definitely disrupted us.”
Instead of forcing the issue, Robinson (26 points, 11 rebounds) played on the perimeter to create more space for his teammates.
Senior forward Mamadou Ndiaye (15 points), Hopkins (11) and junior guard Daniel Kiely (10) each scored in double figures, and Oakland Mills went 9 for 10 at the free throw line over the final 41 seconds to seal the win.
Robinson transferred to Oakland Mills from St. Frances before the school year with one goal, he said: to change the perception of basketball in Howard County. Fellow Howard County school Centennial hoisted the 3A trophy immediately before the Scorpions and Clippers tipped off. Oakland Mills’s win gave Howard two boys’ champions in the same season for the first time.
“That was part of the job, to bring toughness to a Howard County team,” Robinson said. “We took it personally.”