COLLEGE PARK – The Potomac Wolverines lost a heartbreaker to the Engineers of Baltimore Polytechnic in the Boys’ Class 3A State Championship by a final of 64-63.
Engineer forward De’Vondre Perry led all scorers with 23 points while shooting 8-for-10 from the line, five of which came in the final minute. Perry, who stands at 6-foot-6, added 16 rebounds to his stat line to go along with three assists and three blocks. Add that to going 3-for-6 from behind the arc and it makes for an incredible display of dominance to earn the Engineers their first 3A championship.
“(Perry) is going to score,” Potomac Head Coach Renard Johnson said. “So what you do is try and stop everybody else. He’s a great player, but we wanted to play our game.”
The scoreboard did not tell the entire story that played out in dramatic fashion under the gleaming lights at the Xfinity Center. The Engineers took a commanding 33-20 lead into the locker room at halftime, but could not beat the spirit of the Wolverines.
Senior Ryle Burley scored on a dashing layup midway through the third quarter, bringing Potomac within eight points. On the next possession Burley stole the inbound pass which led to two more points for Potomac. Burley led in scoring for the Wolverines, shooting an impressive 7-of-10 from the field to end his night with 16 points and 13 rebounds.
A supporting cast of Travis Henson and Gary Robertson added 14 points apiece, though neither was able to score the ball efficiently. The duo combined to shoot a meager 8-for-28 from the field.
The Wolverines rallied for a second onslaught in the fourth quarter when Henson knocked down a pair of free throws to bring the Wolverines within five, after which Potomac earned possession by virtue of a jump ball. Robertson proceeded to take the ball down the court and convert on a layup through contact, earning himself a three-point play.
“Once we got down we came together at halftime and told ourselves we have to pick up the intensity,” senior Christian Dyches said. “We came back and our coach told us to keep applying the pressure. It just didn’t work out in the end.”
Dyches had a chance to bring the Wolverines within two in the final minute, but missed a shot from the low post. At that point Potomac was forced to foul to stop the clock.
Burley stole an inbounds pass with 12 seconds on the clock to bring the Wolverines wihin three, but needed Poly to miss both free throws. Perry did not let that happen, as he converted one free throw. It proved to be necessary as Robertson sank a three-pointer as the buzzer sounded to give the Engineers a 64-63 edge.
“Coach always told us to play until the clock reads triple zeros, and that’s all that was going through my mind,” Robertson said. “The game is not over until it’s over. One point away – it hurts, but there is nothing you can do about it now.”
Potomac, who was back in the finals for the first time since winning it all in 2014, ends its season with an 18-7 overall record.