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Paint Branch Panthers trounce Clarksburg in girls hoops, 74-32

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Paint Branch's Katerra Myers splits between Clarksburg players to put one over the rim for two points. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE Paint Branch's Katerra Myers goes through Clarksburg defense to put one over the rim for two points. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  BURTONSVILLE — The Paint Branch Panthers varsity girls basketball team took full advantage of the visiting, injury-ridden Clarksburg Coyotes Tuesday to earn a 74-32 running-clock victory in front of their home crowd as the regular season winds down.

The Coyotes have already had to adjust their starting lineup due to senior forward Sunny Paul’s season-ending foot injury. However, recent injuries to center Trinity Klock and forward Aishah Kinney left Clarksburg at an offensive disadvantage.

The first half proved to be a defensive battle as both teams struggled to make shots. The Panthers didn’t gain the upper hand until senior forward Amele Ngwafang found her rhythm and drove down the court again and again, landing easy layups. The Radford University commit registered 17 points in three quarters before sitting out with an apparent injury in the fourth quarter.

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Paint Branch rallies for 74-65 win over Whitman in girls basketball

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Paint Branch's Jabria Bruce (#32) drives the lane between Whitman's Molly Knox (#21) and Carter McGloon (#22).  PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITHPaint Branch's Jabria Bruce (#32) drives the lane between Whitman's Molly Knox (#21) and Carter McGloon (#22).   PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITH  BETHESDA — It was a scrappy win for the visiting Paint Branch Panthers against the Whitman Vikings in girls’ basketball, but one that ended in dominant fashion with a narrow 74-65 win.

The Panthers are one of the top teams in the county, while Whitman is a solid mid-table squad, but before halftime it seemed as if the roles were reversed.

Slick passing from the Vikings disoriented the Panthers, and the Vikings’ speedy play helped them gain an edge over the visitors to go into the second quarter with a 21-15 lead.

However, the fluid play came at the cost of a rigid defense that gave up plenty of fouls. Seven of the Panthers’ points in the first quarter came from the line.

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Sanson leads Whitman to upset win over Paint Branch in double OT thriller

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Whitman's Abdou Diouf (#44) blocks Paint Branch's Richard Dudley (#5).  PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITHWhitman's Abdou Diouf (#44) blocks Paint Branch's Richard Dudley (#5).                       PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITHBETHESDA — DJ Khaled’s song “All I Do is Win” blared from the Whitman Vikings’ locker room as the varsity boys basketball team celebrated a victory. The 2017-18 season has been a trying one for Whitman, but on this night, winning was all Whitman would do, no matter how long it took.

Whitman, which has hovered around .500 all season, recorded its signature win with a 70-67 upset of the visiting Paint Branch Panthers in double overtime, a front runner for game of the year.

“This is a big win for us,” Whitman head coach Chris Lun said. “We want to prove that we can hang with some of the better teams in the county. We’re turning the corner.”

“Everyone’s been doubting us from the start of the season…This game means a lot,” Whitman guard Alex Sanson said.

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Springbrook defeats rival Paint Branch for first place in division

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Matthew Balanc, a key player in Springbrook’s win over Paint Branch, dunks a ball and earns two more points for the Blue Devils.  PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFEMatthew Balanc, a key player in Springbrook’s win over Paint Branch, dunks a ball to score two of his 29 points during the game for the Blue Devils. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFEBURTONSVILLE — Three weeks after the Paint Branch varsity boys basketball team defeated its division rival Springbrook Blue Devils on Springbrook’s home turf, the Blue Devils strode into the Panthers’ house Friday and returned the favor, winning by a score of 80-76.

The bleachers were once again packed to capacity as fans poured into the gym to witness two of the county’s top teams vie for the No. 1 spot in their division.

Springbrook’s fast, aggressive start seemed to stun the Panthers as the Blue Devils jumped out to an early lead behind Quinnipiac University commit Matthew Balanc (29 points) and senior guard Anthony Deruisseau (13 points.)

The Blue Devils dictated a breakneck pace from the beginning, capitalizing on turnovers and beating the Panthers on the boards. Balanc stole the ball and blazed down the court, emphatically slamming down his first dunk of the evening to bring the screaming crowd to its feet.

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Churchill wrestlers earn Paint Branch crown, eye Damascus showdown

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20180120 The Pit 195lb 1Both Andrew Welch of Churchill and Ike Kalu of Western Tech are exhausted as their 195-lb weight class finals took 8:00. Welch prevailed for the win. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  Sean Mahan (145), Fio Tranquill (182) and Andrew Welch (195) won titles, with seniors Chris Ervin (120) and Jack Connolly (138) finishing second as Churchill placed 11 wrestlers within the top six of their weight classes to win the 21-team Paint Branch Invitational Tournament on Jan. 19 and 20.

The Bulldogs (18-0 overall, 8-0 minus tournament dual meets) outscored runner-up Old Mill of Anne Arundel County 220.5-to-203.5, continuing their tremendous year under coaches Tim Lowe and Tony Howard heading into Saturday’s tri-meet with Quince Orchard at 15-time county champion Damascus.

At Paint Branch, Elijah Jack (152) finished third, Ryan Kaplow (220) and Alec Velikanov (285) were fourth, Carlos Villamar (132) fifth, and Parker DeSalvio (160) and Mac Ballman (170) both sixth.

The Bulldogs are now 3-0 in tournaments, having gone 10-0 to win the Rocket Launch Duals at Richard Montgomery and captured the title at the Joe Verciglio Memorial Tournament at Chantilly High of Virginia under Lowe, who was a two-time state champion at Einstein while Howard was a three-timer at Magruder.

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Local athletes break personal records at Montgomery Invitational track meet

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Walter Johnson’s Abigail Green leads the entire race of the girls’ one mile race. She finishes with a 5:03.86, a personal record. Right behind her for most of the race is Paint Branch’s Yasmine Kass who places third with a personal record of 5:12.99.  PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFEWalter Johnson’s Abigail Green leads the entire race of the girls’ one mile race. She finishes with a 5:03.86, a personal record. Right behind her for most of the race is Paint Branch’s Yasmine Kass who places third with a personal record of 5:12.99. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  LANDOVER — At last week’s Montgomery Invitational track meet at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex, the Bullis School girls 4x200 meter relay team became the fastest girls’ relay team in the United States, racing on a flat track, shattering the previous track record.

The quartet of two sophomores (Shaniya Hall and Leah Phillips) and two seniors (Ashley Seymour and Masai Russell) finished their race in one minute, 37.28 seconds.

“When we ran that 1:37, we were really impressed and elated,” said Russell, who anchored the relay.

The Lady Bulldogs had been trying to break the facility record at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex since the start of this season, Russell said.

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Paint Branch Panthers quell Sherwood’s basketball spirit 77-40

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DD5A3692aAnticipating a collision, Sherwood’s Nathaniel Lacey (#20) drives into the lane, eyes closed, as Paint Branch’s Mishi Etuaful (#3) looks to block the shot. Paint Branch went on to defeat Sherwood on their home turf Friday night, the final score 77-40. PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITH  SANDY SPRING — From the start of the game, the Paint Branch Panthers varsity boys basketball team determined to give the home team Sherwood Warriors a hard time Friday night in every aspect of the game. By the fourth quarter, an exhausted Warriors squad could barely muster the strength to try and stop the Panthers juggernaut as the margin continued to widen, ultimately ending with the final score 77-40.

With the victory, the Panthers remain at the top of the County leaderboards, with only one loss to their name.

“Just play day by day, practice by practice. Just try to improve as a team and keep on working. We want to play every game like we’re the underdog,” said Dudley on the Panthers’ mentality that keeps them going.

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Smith, Fuondjing help Paint Branch Panthers pin down Rockville Duals crown

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Paint Branch High School's Austin Smith, winner of the 195 lb bracket, is surrounded by teammates as he holds the 1st Place Team trophy at the Rockville Rumble Duals Wrestling Tournament.  PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITH Paint Branch's Austin Smith, winner of the 195 lb bracket, is surrounded by his teammates as he holds the First Place Team trophy at the Rockville Rumble Duals Wrestling Tournament. PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITH  Juniors Austin Smith (195) and Wafeu Fuondjing (285) won all nine bouts Saturday to pace the Paint Branch Panthers past runner-up Northwest, 31-27, for the title of the Rockville Rumble Duals Wrestling Tournament. 

Smith rose to 20-0, and Fuondjing to 19-1. Smith’s biggest win of the year is a 4-3 decision over Good Counsel transfer Drew Brenowitz of Clarksburg, a sixth place private schools finisher last year.

“Brenowitz was a tough match that will help me to get into the right mindset after not having too many tough matches so far,” said Smith, son of Paint Branch wrestling coach Rick Smith. “I missed counties and regions last year with a back injury, so I’m feeling ready to finish strong over the rest of our tough schedule.”

Also wrestling well for the Panthers (15-5) were Brian Trinh (106), Amir Abdur Rahim (138), Dheduce Anumgba (160), Kyle Isolato (170), Tom Bettinger (182) and Wisdom Agbeyome (220). Trinh is 19-1, Bettinger is 17-2, Anumgba is 12-2, Isolato is 15-5, Agbeyome is 6-2, and Rahim, 12-6.

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Springbrook boys come up short at home against Paint Branch

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Paint Branch guard Richard Dudley (5) shoots between Springbrook defenders Anthony Desruisseau (5) & Markell McDaniels (25). PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTHPaint Branch guard Richard Dudley (5) shoots between Springbrook defenders Anthony Desruisseau (5) & Markell McDaniels (25). PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTH  SILVER SPRING – As two of the county’s top varsity basketball teams went head to head on a frigid Friday night, fans arrived in droves at Springbrook High School’s gym entrance only to find handwritten sign reading: “we are currently at capacity.” Such demand for tickets meant the crowd was standing-room-only as they watched the visiting Paint Branch Panthers (8-1) topple the Springbrook Blue Devils (8-2) for the fourth time in a row, 83-71.

With guards Richard Dudley and Xavier Reaves finishing with 21 points, and another player – senior forward Chris Mayaka – putting 19 on the board, Paint Branch was able to showcase a wide variety of scoring threats.

The game started off fast-paced and aggressive from the moment of the opening tip-off, as Springbrook senior guard Matthew Balanc put his signature high-energy playing style on full display by fearlessly driving through the paint for layups, and as he used his 6-foot-3 frame to knock one of Dudley’s shots out of the air.

Despite the result, the Blue Devils kept the score close for most of the first quarter, thanks to Balanc's penchant for hitting big buckets, giving him a game-high 27 points and leading to a quarter that featured five ties as both teams fought hard to pull away.

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Paint Branch defeats Kennedy in Walter Hardy Holiday Hoopfest

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Walter Hardy Holiday Hoopfest Paint Branch vs. KennedyKennedy Cavaliers' Jalen Lovell (#20) and Paint Branch Panthers' Richard Dudley (#5) dive for a loose ball during the Walter Hardy Holiday Hoopfest Invitational Tournament.               PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH.BURTONSVILLE — The Paint Branch varsity basketball team emerged victorious Thursday over the visiting Kennedy Cavaliers, 79-75, in the final championship game of the Walter Hardy Holiday Hoopfest Invitational Tournament.

It was a fitting ending to a tournament that honored a man who had left an indelible mark on both schools featured in the championship game.

Hardy, a Paint Branch graduate, coached the Panthers for 17 seasons and served as athletic director at Kennedy. He had just begun his tenure as Sherwood’s athletic director when he died suddenly in September.

Current Panthers head coach Chris Bohlen helped organize the tournament as a way to not only honor Hardy but to raise money for the Walter Hardy Scholarship Fund. Bohlen hopes to make the tournament an annual affair.

“[Hardy] has done so much for the community and for Paint Branch,” said Bohlen. “When his family established the scholarship fund, it was a no-brainer to use the proceeds and donations to help benefit that fund.”

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