No. 17 Falcons edge Indian Creek, 57-55, for title shot against Severn (VIDEO HERE!!)

Senior co-captain Colin Rimel scored 12 points, including the game-winning jumper in the closing seconds to help Gerstell advance to the MIAA B Conference basketball final with a 57-55 semifinal decision over Indian Creek School in Anne Arundel County Thursday evening.

by Nelson Coffin

Having gladly taken on the role as Gerstell Academy boys’ basketball team co-captain and its designated shooter, Colin Rimel found himself open on the baseline with just 16 seconds remaining in regulation in an MIAA B Conference semifinal game against Indian Creek on Thursday night in Crownsville.

Not one to shirk his responsibility as a leader or shooter, the 6-foot senior guard rose to the occasion by gathering in a pass from freshman guard Ahmad Harrison and draining the shot that snapped a 55-55 tie to eventually give the 17th-ranked Falcons a hard-fought 57-55 victory and a berth in the B Conference final on Sunday (3:15 p.m.) at Harford Community College’s APGCU Arena against top-seeded and No. 14 Severn School.

“Ahmad did a great job of penetrating to the baseline and drawing my defender, and then he made a great pass through traffic to find me wide open in the corner,” Said Rimel, a York College commit who finished with a team-high 12 points. “I just stayed calm and knocked it down.”

According to Gerstell coach Ben Thompson, Rimel has made a habit of hitting big shots this season.

“He’s been doing that for us all season,” Thompson said after his team moved to 19-10. “He’s our leading scorer and he’s used to pressure-packed situations.”

The drama was building after the Falcons fashioned a 51-42 advantage on a pair of free throws by freshman guard Karell Booker a minute into the final period.

The Eagles (18-5) then put together a furious 11-2 run capped by successive big plays by Khilel Williams to deadlock the score with one minute, 36 seconds to go.

His first bucket came on a put-back of his own miss while being fouled.

After knocking down the ensuing free throw, Williams converted a pass inside on Indian Creek’s next possession to make it, 53-all.

The teams then traded made free throws before Rimel’s heroics put the Falcons ahead.

Still, the Eagles had a chance to tie or go ahead and Williams forced his way before losing possession in a wild scramble with the home crowd in an uproar.

“We had our chances,” Indian Creek coach Josh Pratt said. “We had plenty of chances to win the game, but give them credit, they made one or two more plays than we did. They deserved to win.”

Indian Creek’s initial 11-2 run came after the opening whistle with Jordan Lewis, Malik McKinney, Williams and Khyion Washington leading the charge.

Thompson said that the two-hour bus ride in heavy traffic that delayed the game for nearly a half hour was part of the reason for his team’s slow start.

“We changed some things after that and pressed their guards,” he said. “And that helped us get back into the game.”

By the middle of the second quarter, Gerstell took the lead on a steal-and-finish by junior guard Anthony Carpenter.

Although the Eagles came back from a six-point deficit to tie in the third quarter and closed a nine-point gap in the final frame, they could never grasp the lead again.

“We have a resilient team,” said McKinney, who led all scorers with 17 points. “Coach told us not to put our heads down, and to keep fighting.”

GERSTELL 10 19 17 11 — 57
INDIAN CREEK 13 13 16 13 — 61
GERSTELL ACADEMY: Khyle Washington 4, Anthony Carpenter 8, Brad Witt 11, Ahmad Harrison 7, Karell Booker 4, Tyler Tillery 11, Colin Rimel 12. TOTALS: 17 15-22 57.
INDIAN CREEK: Khilel Williams 7, Malik McKinney 17, Jordan Lewis 11, Cole Washington 5, Khyion Washington 15. TOTALS: 17 13-21 65.