WHITEFORD — When it came down to the final seconds of Tuesday night's Tri-County Conference early season clash between host Whiteford and conference rival Summerfield, Whiteford coach Jim Ross knew what he wanted to do with the game on the line.
The Bobcats coach put the ball in the hands of Class C All-State guard Colin Lake and allowed him a chance to close out the game.
With the score tied, the calm, confident 5-foot-6 guard responded by draining a 3-pointer from the baseline with 1.8 seconds left to lift Whiteford to a 51-48 victory.
"The best thing for Colin is pandomonium from a broken play," said Ross, who admits the long-range 3-point basket wasn't exactly how they had drawn up the final shot.
Nonetheless, Lake's third 3-pointer ultimately did Summerfield in and finished off a game-high, 30-point scoring effort for Whiteford's lone returning starter from last season's team that shared the conference title with Summerfield.
"Just a lot of practice, and I stayed confident," Lake said of his approach to taking the game-deciding shot.
Lake's final basket helped the Bobcats (2-1, 1-0 TCC) pull out a win after trailing the Bulldogs by as much as 11 points in the second half.
Summerfield owned a 45-34 lead when Derrick Garner scored from close range with just over a minute remaining in the third quarter.
But the Bobcats didn't stop competing before an enthusiastic home crowd. They kept fighting and went on to outscore the Bulldogs 15-3 in the fourth.
Lake, Troy Diller, and Zach Perry scored five points apiece during the final period. Diller finished the game with 10 points and Perry added nine.
Whiteford, which trailed 31-26 at the half, outscored Summerfield 25-17 during the second half.
"I was really pleased with the defense we played in the second half," Ross said.
Furthermore, the Bobcats coach said their improved play after the break didn't have anything to do with making any halftime adjustments to try and confuse the Bulldogs, who seemed to get plenty of second- and third-chance opportunities at putting back missed shots in the first half.
"We just did what we were trained to do better in the second half," Ross said of the Bobcats' improved play after halftime.
Steve Schankin paced Summerfield with a team-high 14 points, including two 3-pointers.
However, Schankin was held to four points during the second half and went scoreless in the final quarter.
Garner scored 12 points, including a basket with just under four minutes remaining in the contest to give Summerfield a 47-46 advantage. He was fouled on the play, but failed on a chance at converting a three-point play after missing the free throw.
Summerfield's Jason Meredith pumped in 10 points, but was also scoreless in the fourth quarter.
Ironically, the Bulldogs started the game playing much better on offense and went on an 11-3 run midway through the second quarter to go up 29-20 when Meredith scored on a breakaway layup with 1 minute, 40 seconds to play in the second quarter.
Summerfield ended up taking a 31-26 lead into halftime.
However, Lake, who had 15 points at the break, was only halfway done.
Contact Donald Emmons at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.