TOWSON — Largo’s Tania White tried to do a little bit of everything for a stagnant Largo offense that just could not get going at times during the Class 1A state championship game at the SECU Arena in Towson on March 10. She repeatedly drove to the basket, drew several fouls and caused the Southern […]
TOWSON — Largo’s Tania White tried to do a little bit of everything for a stagnant Largo offense that just could not get going at times during the Class 1A state championship game at the SECU Arena in Towson on March 10.
She repeatedly drove to the basket, drew several fouls and caused the Southern Garrett defense too much trouble. White’s driving jumper gave Largo a one-point lead with 58 seconds remaining in the contest.
The Lions could not do anything else on offense. White finished with 25 points, but Southern Garrett High School scored the game’s final five and were helped by a bizarre officiating incident in that last minute as the Rams defeated Largo 52-48.
Largo (19-9) lost in last year’s state final and won it in 2018, so this was the Lions third consecutive appearance in the championship game. “It was a rough road all the way, though, and they fought together,” Largo Head Coach Ayana Ball-Ward said. “They fought to put all the pieces together, and it finally came together at the right time, right at the end.”
However, what made this loss so frustrating for Largo was that it was right there for the Lions to take. The Rams took a 49-48 lead when Courtney Roth made a layup 12 seconds after White’s basket.
That is when the fun began.
Both teams turned the ball over quickly before White got fouled with 33.8 seconds left. It came when Southern Garrett threw a long pass from under its own basket trying for a fastbreak. A foul was called on the Rams as two players were on the floor going for the ball.
White stepped to the line and made a free throw to tie the game at 48 before the scorer’s table, and the officials got together and began to talk. It took a few minutes to straighten everything out, but they told Largo it would get the ball out of bounds right by where the foul was committed, about 10 feet short of midcourt.
So, the free throw did not count, there was no tie game, and Largo still trailed by one. White then missed a jumper with 19 seconds left, and the Rams took possession on a jump ball. Hannah Wilt made a free throw with 13.4 seconds remaining that gave Southern Garrett a 50-48 lead.
White tried once more after that, driving to the basket but was unable to finish a layup through the traffic with three seconds remaining. Roth then slammed the door by knocking down two free throws with four-tenths of a second left.
“I set my teammates up and told them the gameplan,” White said of the final shot. “It just didn’t go the right way.”
Ball-Ward was upset at that one late situation. They told her since it was a team-control foul, it could not be a shooting foul, and they would just get possession. Therefore, the free throw would be taken away.
“Now, (if) we tie the ballgame up…it’s a different ballgame,” she said. “We’re back to 0-0.”
The coach made it rather clear she was not thrilled with the officiating. Southern Garrett had 37 free throws compared to Largo’s 25. Roth made 18-of-21 herself, a big reason she scored 28 points.
However, the Rams made 28-of-37 (75.7 percent) while Largo hit just 13-of-25 (52 percent). That hurt the Lions also.
“To me, it was a lot of suspect calls throughout the game,” Ball-Ward said. “We got the raw end of the stick, though.”
White went out in the third quarter with a right ankle injury but came back and pushed the Lions in the fourth quarter. Ball-Ward and Sasha Francis and Brianna Jones were part of the “heartbeat” of the team by season’s end.
Francis finished with eight points and six rebounds while Jones added five points and a team-high 10 rebounds. The Lions gave it a valiant effort but just came up a little short.
“It was a hard-fought game on both sides,” Ball-Ward said.