Wednesday, December 11, 2013 4:33 AM
Published on: Thursday, December 13, 2012
By Brandy L. Simms
ROCKVILLE – What a difference a year makes.
The Magruder boys basketball team opened the 2012-2013 campaign on Dec. 5 with a shocking 69-65 victory over Hyattsville powerhouse DeMatha before a near capacity crowd.
“It’s a great feeling to be one of the very few public schools to beat a private school like DeMatha,” said Magruder senior guard and George Washington signee Nick Griffin, who finished with 16 points against the Stags. “It’s a great feeling. We knew coming into the game it was going to be a big one. We knew they were going to make their runs, we were going to make our runs. We just tried to stay focused throughout the whole game.”
DeMatha jumped out to a 19-13 lead in the second quarter before Magruder went on a 27-5 run to take a 16-point lead at the intermission, 40-24. The Stags outscored the Colonels in the fourth quarter, 24-12, but Magruder still managed to hang on for the win.
By virtue of the win, the Colonels avenged a loss to the Stags in last year’s season opener.
“It was real important to us,” said Magruder senior guard J.J. Epps, who finished with a game-high 22 points, “because last year we started off losing to them, and we finished with the state title, but still had that ‘1’ on our record. This year we feel like we can repeat and that ‘1’ won’t be there.”
Magruder went on to win 26 consecutive games en route to capturing the Maryland Class 4A state title for the second time in school history.
The win also marked the second time in school history that Magruder had beaten DeMatha. In 2004, the Colonels knocked off DeMatha in a holiday tournament on a team that featured current Magruder assistant Ryan Junghans.
“It was a lot like when we did play in 2004,” said Junghans. “We had five senior starters. We have five senior starters now. DeMatha was very young at the time and they’re young now but to be honest this might be a more satisfying win just because the group of guys are just so special.”