In the 20 minutes following the final buzzer inside Parkville High Thursday evening, Josiah Legree was nearly crushed, sat atop of a ladder and performed a TikTok dance with a teammate.
It definitely wasn’t another day on the basketball court for Legree, who kept the No. 5 Knights season alive by hitting a 3-pointer as time expired in overtime for a heartstopping 67-66 victory over Dulaney in the Class 4A North Region boys basketball final in Baltimore County.
Legree finished with 27 points for Parkville (24-1 overall), and junior guard Sincere Barfield added 17. Eric Zhang led Dulaney (18-6) with 26 points.
The Knights will host Prince George’s County’s DuVal in a 4A Elite Eight match Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. for a spot in next week’s 4A state Final Four. Parkville lost to eventual state champ Eleanor Roosevelt, also from Prince George’s County, in last year’s state semifinals.
Parkville’s bid for a first state championship remains in play, thanks to Legree, who dropped an uncontested dagger near his team’s bench.
Legree ran off the court in jubliation, chased after by teammates and fans who swallowed him near the gym’s entrance.
“I just trusted my instincts in shooting the ball,” said Legree. “I usually don’t, but I’ve built confidence and trust in myself.”
“Since the Governor’s Challenge, he’s been one of the best guards in the state of Maryland,” said Parkville coach Josh Czerski. “He’s a highlight tape, he has confidence and a great feel of the game.”
It was a gut check effort, led by Legree, as the Knights battled back from a 9-point fourth quarter deficit to win its third straight region championship. Last week, Parkville’s bid for a second straight Baltimore County crown, as well as undefeated season, was ruined by New Town.
Tuesday, Parkville trailed Perry Hall by double-digits in the first half before taking a 66-60 region semifinal decision.
“Before the game we watched the Churchill game where we were down 11 with 1:32 left and won from three years ago as some motivation,” said Czerski. “We have some sickness throughout the week and guys battling little injuries, they just fought through it. It’s a resilient team, not everyone knows what’s going on behind closed doors, but we know what kind of fight we have.”
Dulaney led 52-43 with 4:56 left in regulation when Favor Okigweh finished with a dunk. The Lions turned the ball over on an offensive foul and Legree followed with the first of three 3-pointers inside of 2 minutes.
Okigweh, who sat most of the first half with foul trouble, blocked a shot, grabbed the loose ball and got the ball downcourt to Legree, who dropped a baseline jumper to bring the Knights to 52-50. He followed another Dulaney turnover via an offensive infraction with another 3-pointer, giving Parkville a 53-52 lead with 3:24 remaining in regulation.
It was Parkville’s first lead since the middle of the second quarter.
“We had to slow them down,” said Okigweh, who assisted on Legree’s lead 3-pointer. “Defense closed the game and Jo hit the final shot.”
After another Okigweh block, Legree drained another shot from behind the arc for a 56-52 advantage with 2:46 to play. The Knights led 59-56 after senior Caron Smith’s basket with 42.3 left in regulation, but Zhang answered for Dulaney with a 3-pointer, tying the game with 30 seconds left.
In overtime, Zhang dropped a short jumper for a 63-61 with 2:30 left. Parkville hit one of two free throws
to pull to 63-62, but Jamariez Corley-Scott succesfully drove to the basket against Owigeh, giving Dulaney a 65-62 advantage with 1:45 remaining in overtime.
Legree hit two free throws, bringing Parkville to within one, after drawing Zhang’s fifth and final foul with 1:30 left. With 13.1 seconds left, Paul Gross converted the latter of the double-bouns free throws, giving Dulaney a 66-64 lead.
Barfield got the inbounds pass and gave the ball to Legree, who dribbled to the 3-point elbow closest to Parkville’s bench. Smith, arguably the Knights’ best shooter, came over to Legree from the corner, drawing out a Dulaney defender.
Legree kept the ball, took a dribble and released.
“I had no doubt about it,” said Barfield of Legree, who was the first player to cut down the nets and joined his backcourt mate in some postgame dancing. “We weren’t worried about the crowd, we knew we didn’t want to go home.”
Instead, Dulaney was left to ponder. The Lions were the aggressors from mid-second quarter into the fourth, leading by as many as nine points.
Dulaney coach Matt Lochte said minor breakdowns eventually set his team up for a bitter ending.
“There are lot of plays that aren’t stated, certain plays we couldn’t get into or took a bad shot. You don’t really noticed that, but you do enough of those in a game, along with missing free throws, it’s going to cost you,” said Lochte. “You got to play well to beat a good team like Parkville. We were prepared and ready...we were ready to practice tomorrow night. We’re not and they are.”
Czerski said last week’s county final loss to New Town, days after Parkville won the first meeting to complete a second straight perfect regular season, helped his squad to get through region play.
“We stayed calm and we stayed poised. We played as a team,” said Legree, “because family is what the Knights are.”
CLASS 4A NORTH REGION I FINAL
NO. 5 PARKVILLE 67, DULANEY 66 (OT)
Dulaney - Zhang 26, Corely-Scott 12, Gross 10, Hylind 7, Wynne 7, Toll 4. Totals 25 8-15 66.
Parkville - Legree 27, Barfield 17, Okigweh 8, Woosley 6, Smith 5, Wiggins 4. Totals 24 8-14 67.
Dulaney 14 12 17 16 7 - 66
Parkville 10 14 14 21 8 - 67