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The North Point Eagles were attempting to do in the 2012 playoffs what no boys basketball team from the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference had done in over a half century.

And they came close to becoming the first SMAC outfit to win back-to-back state titles in the modern era, but the 1958 and 1959 Lackey teams still remain the last from the league to capture Maryland championships two straight years.

North Point was favored to claim the Class 4A state bragging rights in 2012, given its title the year before that snapped a longstanding drought in the SMAC boys ranks since 1972 along with a dominant regular season and an impressive romp in the Class 4A East Region playoffs.

But North Point (23-3 overall) saw its postseason hopes come to a premature end on March 8 in heart-wrenching fashion, losing 65-63 to Eleanor Roosevelt of Prince George’s County on a driving basket in the final couple of seconds of a thrilling state semifinals showdown at University of Maryland’s Comcast Center in College Park.

“It’s real tough,” a teary-eyed North Point junior standout Marquis Wright said. “Eleanor Roosevelt was the better team today. We’ve just got to stay strong and come back next year. They had one more layup than us.”

North Point head coach Jimmy Ball added, “We had some breakdowns on that last play. We weren’t on help side [defensively]. You don’t want to lose the game on a layup.”

North Point held a 62-59 lead with 1 minute 20 seconds left in the state semifinal contest and was up 63-61 with 51.6 seconds remaining before Roosevelt (22-4) managed the final four points, each bucket set up by dribble penetration.

“I want [our returners] to have that taste in their mouth,” Ball said of the painstaking nature of the tight loss. “We’ve got nine, 10 juniors coming back so we’ll be very senior-loaded next year.”

DALLAS COGLE