After missing the front end of a one-and-one earlier in the final minute, Andre Mitchell stepped back to the free-throw line with Plymouth Whitemarsh holding a one-point lead over Ridley and 6.2 seconds remaining.
"I was pretty confident going up there," the senior guard said. "I told myself, 'Take a deep breath and treat it like you're just at practice.' "
Mitchell converted both attempts; the Green Raiders missed a three-point attempt from up top at the buzzer; and the Colonials survived, 44-41, Wednesday night in a PIAA District 1 Class AAAA boys' semifinal at Temple's Liacouras Center.
"To make those two foul shots at the end, that's the kind of stuff you dream of when you're a kid," longtime PW coach Jim Donofrio said after his team advanced to the final for the first time since placing second to Penn Wood in 2010.
The Colonials will try for their first district crown since 1998 when they take on fellow Suburban One League member Abington at 8 p.m. Friday at Temple. The Ghosts downed Pennsbury, 49-40, in the first semifinal.
PW (24-2) caused some controversy at the end of the regular season when it opted not to participate in the first annual Suburban One League postseason tournament. Abington took top honors in the four-team field with its third win over Pennsbury.
"We knew we weren't going to be able to do well in it and then turn around and be fully ready for districts," Mitchell said. "We wanted to get more games in, but Coach 'D' made the right decision."
Against Ridley, the Central League titlist, junior Xzavier Malone sparked the Colonials with 19 points, including three three-pointers. His left-wing three provided a 38-32 lead with 3:23 left.
Fellow guards Jimmy Murray and Mitchell (6 for 7 from the stripe in the second half) chipped in 12 and 10 points, respectively. Forward Cameron Johnson gathered eight rebounds.
Ridley (22-6) made things interesting in the late going with a 9-4 spurt. Ryan Bollinger (10 points) nailed a three to make it 42-41 with 27 seconds to go. With 7.6 seconds left, a traveling violation wiped out a go-ahead chance.
Ridley 10 10 6 15 - 41
Plymouth Whitemarsh 12 8 9 15 - 44
R: Brett Foster 8, Nick Czechowicz 4, Ameer Staggs 6, Julian Wing 9, Ryan Bollinger 10, Justin Dawson 4.