Springbrook boys survive in close hoops win over Wootton

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Springbrook’s Anthony Deruisseaun (#5) beats the Wootton defense to the hoop during Tuesday night’s game.  PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITHSpringbrook’s Anthony Deruisseaun (#5) beats the Wootton defense to the hoop during Tuesday night’s game. PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITH  ROCKVILLE — A second-half comeback attempt Tuesday night by the Wootton Patriots varsity boys basketball team rattled some nerves as the Springbrook Blue Devils saw the Patriots eat into their hard-earned lead, but Springbrook held on, walking away with an 81-73 victory.

“I thought we played well,” said Springbrook head coach Darnell Meyers. “I just thought we have to protect that ball a little better in our offense, but overall I thought we did a pretty good job.”

Springbrook and Wootton entered the game going in two opposite directions, Springbrook having won two in a row while Wootton had lost two in a row. But Wootton's boys continued the pattern they've developed by keeping the came close and never giving up, even against Montgomery County's top teams.

Springbrook started the game by building a 7-2 lead. Wootton responded with nine points from forward Julian Levin, helping the Patriots to take a 13-12 lead later in the first quarter. However, even though Springbrook point guard and Quinnipiac commit Matthew Balanc had to clean up six of his teammates' missed shots for six second-chance points, Springbrook held a 17-16 lead heading into the second quarter.


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.


Musical chairs on the county’s gridiron begins anew this holiday season

Montgomery County’s version of musical chairs has already begun on the gridiron.
Rockville graduate Jason Lomax has stepped down at Springbrook in order to accept the same position at his alma mater.
“It is with mixed emotions that I am stepping down as head varsity football coach at Springbrook to take the head coaching position at Rockville High School,” Lomax wrote in a letter addressed to the Springbrook Community. “This was a difficult decision that was made with my family in mind. The demands of coaching are very stressful and taxing on a family. This move allows me to spend more time with my family, coach at the school me and my wife graduated from, and coach in the community in which I live. This was a unique opportunity that my family could not pass up.”


Rockville native scores first TD in NFL, Springbrook senior commits to Quinnipiac

Mack HollinsMack Hollins. FILE PHOTO  Philadelphia Eagles rookie wide receiver Mack Hollins reeled in a pass from quarterback Carson Wentz and scored on a 64-yard touchdown reception during Monday night’s game against the Washington Redskins.
For Hollins, a Rockville native who once played at Wootton, the score marked his first career touchdown as an NFL wide receiver.
I spoke with Hollins in the Eagles locker room following Philadelphia’s 30-17 victory over the Redskins in the season opener at FedEx Field.
Although he didn’t get much playing time that day, he was happy to be back in familiar surroundings.


Springbrook does just enough late in the game to defeat Whitman

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Whitman Vikings vs. Springbrook Blue Devils 1 12 15 17Whitman's Joey Squeri and Springbrook's Michael Germain get tangled in the net during a contested rebound.                PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  BETHESDA — Despite a ferocious fourth-quarter comeback attempt by the Walt Whitman Vikings, the Blue Devils of Springbrook High School found the last drops of fuel in their tank in the game’s final minutes to defeat Whitman, 67-59.

Friday’s match – contested by two of Montgomery County’s best squads – was decided by four big scoring runs.

The first belonged to Whitman, which began the game with ten unanswered points until after a Springbrook timeout, after which the Blue Devils rallied, and even took the lead for a few seconds before a buzzer-beating layup by Whitman’s Rodrigo Ruiz gave the Vikings a 16-15 lead at the end of the first quarter.

“Defense,” Springbrook head coach Darnell Meyers immediately responded when asked what changed during the timeout. “And some words I said in the huddle,” Meyers continued with a smile.


Montgomery County’s high school wrestling preview

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Colonels’ C.J. Cramma aims for elusive state title, while Damascus goes for another team crown 

Magruder’s C.J. Cramma need no further inspiration than his past two meetings with Parkdale of Prince George’s County’s 4A-3A runner-up Axel Giron, who defeated the Colonels’ wrestler, 6-3, in last year’s 113-pound state semifinals, and, in triple-overtime at a summer wrestling camp at Landon High.

Giron lost his state title bout, 3-2, to repeat winner Brent Lorin of Harford County’s Bel Air, a junior like Giron, who has yet to lose a high school bout.

“We were tied 3-3 at states and Giron got back points,” said Cramma, who went 4-1 at states with two pins, a technical fall and a 9-5 decision to end the year with a mark of 41-6. “At Landon, we were tied 4-4 but went into triple-overtime and I lost on the ultimate ride-out.”


Rucker leads Springbrook Blue Devils to victory over B-CC Barons, 82-72

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B CC Barons vs. Springbrook Blue Devils 12 8 17Springbrook's Xavier Harris and B-CC's Elijah Wood and Camilo Bascolo battle for the boards.   PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  SILVER SPRING — In a varsity boys basketball showdown between the Springbrook Blue Devils and Bethesda-Chevy Chase Barons, the top two teams in Montgomery County, Springbrook forward Cam Rucker stepped up to lead his team to a 82-72 win.

The Blue Devils started fast with Springbrook point guard and Quinnipiac commit Matthew Balanc in the game in the first quarter, during which he earned his first technical foul for an altercation with Barons forward Miles English. “He was frustrated,” Springbrook head coach Darnell Meyers said of Balanc’s foul. “He learned from this mistake, he’ll grow and get better from it.”

The tenacious Springbrook defense forced turnover after turnover, and capitalized on the offensive end. With the exception of English, B-CC struggled on the offensive end in the first quarter, and trailed Springbrook 25-13 as the game headed to the second quarter.

In the second quarter with B-CC behind seven points, Kevin McAuliffe, tried to make a run and come back for the Barons. However, just like in the first quarter, turnovers killed B-CC’s momentum, and the Blue Devils answered any Barons run with a run of their own to build the lead back up. Balanc was called for a second technical for hanging on the rim early in the second quarter, which led to his being ejected from the game. However, Springbrook still led 39-30 at halftime.


Springbrook Blue Devils overtake Magruder Colonels to win 31-21

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Springbrook vs. MagruderSILVER SPRING — The Springbrook Blue Devils dominated a visiting Magruder Colonels football team full of surprises Friday night with a 31-21 comeback win.

The Blue Devils were trailing in the first quarter 14-0, but slowly built up a lead by taking advantage of the Colonels’ mistakes and a solid defense.

It was a frustrating night for Magruder as they tried to keep up with the momentum they established early in the game but failed to do so.

”It was just a completely different game the last three and a half quarters. We tried to get our guys and focus back, move the ball a little bit in the fourth quarter, but in the end we came up short,” said Magruder head coach Ray Fowle.


Paint Branch Panthers hold on against Springbrook, stay undefeated

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JGS 5350 2Paint Branch running back Justin Hockaday (1) is tackled by Springbrook defenders Joseph Bass (2), Tony Che (15) and Esli Alvarado-Montesino (53). PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTH  BURTONSVILLE – Valuable seconds were ticking off the game clock. If the visiting Springbrook Blue Devils varsity football team wanted to spoil the Paint Branch Panthers’ undefeated season, the time was now.

Then, Dejuan Johnson came out of nowhere. The senior defensive back intercepted Springbrook quarterback Trevon Ruffin as the buzzer signaled the end of the game and the Paint Branch bench flooded onto the field.

In a game marred by penalties and dropped passes, the Panthers clawed their way to a 28-25 victory and a 5-0 start to their season.

“I was telling all my teammates to just hold them and not give up any big plays. Then the ball came and I made a play with the help of my teammates,” said Johnson of his crucial interception. “For me and the whole team to come out there after being down for most of the game and then coming back, it was a hard-fought win and I think we deserved it.”


Oakdale edges out Springbrook to win basketball championship 69-6

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MPI mdelite 0024Springbrook’s Peace Addo (8) and Cameron Rucker (11) move to block Oakdale’s Drew Jezioro (3) as he attempts a layup. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  ROCKVILLE — Thursday’s championship game of the Maryland Elite Summer Varsity League pitted the Springbrook Blue Devils (7-3) against Frederick County’s Oakdale Bears (9-1). Despite a 28-point performance by Delano Jessup, Springbrook fell to Oakdale, 69-68.

Springbrook head coach Darnell Meyers viewed the loss through a positive lens. Pointing out that two of his starters, Matthew Blanc and Anthony Thomas, were missing.

“The young kids stepped up and did a great job,” said Meyers. “We should’ve won, we missed a lot of free throws, but that’s what summer league is for, it’s a chance to grow.”

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