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Summer proves to be the best time for high school hoops action

Outdoor Basketball in HoopThere’s nothing like summer league basketball in the DMV.
Arguably the nation’s No. 1 hoops hotbed, the basketball culture in our area is perhaps second to none.
I was born in Oakland which boasts the distinction of producing scores of great NBA players including Bill Russell, Jason Kidd, Gary Payton and Damian Lillard among others.
However, when it comes to producing NBA talent per capita, the DMV rises to the top of the list.
Ricky Goings, founder of Everyone Deserves A Shot (EDAS), a non-profit that helps kids find basketball scholarships, can certainly attest to that notion.
“I think our area really took basketball seriously before the nation did,” said Goings.

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RM Rockets blast Einstein 49-43, advance to Md. Elite hoops semifinals

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RM Rockets vs. Einstein TitansROCKVILLE — Richard Montgomery advanced to the Maryland Elite Basketball Summer League semifinals with a 49-43 victory over Einstein on Monday at Jewish Day School.

Richard Montgomery’s cast of characters included Djordje Orcev, Kordell Lewis, Devin Liyanamana and Ryan Cornish who combined to score the majority of the Rockets points.

Orcev and Lewis finished with 15 points each and Liyanamana added eight points while Cornish dropped six points for Richard Montgomery.

“They are a great defensive team,” said Einstein senior guard Camren Ashby. “Their help defense is amazing and I give them props. They made shots when they were supposed to and they played great defense.”

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G-Burg Trojans beat Northwest Jags in triple OT summer hoops playoff thriller

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Gaithersburg Trojans vs. Northwest JaguarsROCKVILLE — The second round of the Maryland Elite Basketball Summer League playoffs began Monday evening at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, and the first matchup involved the No. 1-seeded Gaithersburg Trojans facing the No. 8-seeded Northwest Jaguars. The game became a nail-biter as it took triple overtime to settle it; in the end, the Trojans came out with the 67-66 victory.

This matchup was close throughout, as Gaithersburg led at halftime 29-27 with 17 points from rising sophomore Jao Ituka.

14-year-old Ituka had an incredible performance, as he put up 40 total points, which included the game-winning layup in triple OT. He also threw down two dunks in the first half.

“It was good to help my team win,” Ituka said. “It could have been better player-wise, because I took a lot of bad shots and I didn’t see a lot of my teammates when they were open.”

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Bethesda Big Train demolish T-Bolts 14-3

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Bethesda Big Train's Andrew Shebloski (6) during the Cal Ripken League game against the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts played at Povich Field on Friday, July 13, 2018. PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITHBethesda Big Train's Andrew Shebloski (6) at bat during the Cal Ripken League game against the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts played at Povich Field on Friday, July 13, 2018. PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITH  BETHESDA — Coming off a dominating 18-0 victory over the Baltimore Dodgers, the Bethesda Big Train (30-5) continued to cruise over their opponents as they steamrolled the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts (14-21) 14-3 on Friday night at Shirley Povich Field for their 30th win of the season.

The Big Train got on the board in the bottom of the second when catcher Ben Martz singled up the middle to drive in outfielder Justin Wylie for the 1-0 lead.

Bethesda went on to score nine more runs in the next five innings to take a 10-0 lead. Among the scores included a home run and an RBI double from first baseman Udie Summerall, RBI singles from Wylie, third baseman Carson Taylor, infielder Fox Semones, and designated hitter Alec Burleson, a sac fly from outfielder Andrew Shebloski, and runs on wild pitches by Burleson and shortstop AJ Lee.

“Tonight we hit the ball really well,” Summerall said. “We do that every night. It’s not a big surprise, but I think everybody had fun tonight, even me. We’re having fun.”

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Rockville Express scrape out victory against Baltimore Dodgers, 4-3

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Rockville Express first baseman Evan Blum (26) waits for the throw from third as Baltimore Dodgers' Matthew Buckery (7) bears down.  PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITHRockville Express first baseman Evan Blum (26) waits for the throw from third as Baltimore Dodgers' Matthew Buckery (7) bears down. PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITH  ROCKVILLE — A pair of division rivals met on the baseball diamond Friday night at Montgomery College.

However, when all was said and done, the Rockville Express emerged with a 4-3 victory over the Baltimore Dodgers.

“We scraped together a few runs so we’re hanging in,” said Rockville head coach Rick Price. “We’re hanging in. We’re still in a playoff spot, we’re trying to stay there.”

The Express and Dodgers both compete in the Cal Ripken North Division; Rockville is firmly entrenched in third place and Baltimore holds down the last place spot.

“We have a friendly rivalry,” added Price, “unlike some teams.”

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Magruder boys hand Springbrook their first defeat in summer hoops

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Magruder Colonels' Chris Asamoah (12) takes it to the hoop through the Springbrook Blue Devils' defense in the summer league game at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School on Monday.  PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITHMagruder Colonels' Chris Asamoah (12) takes it to the hoop through the Springbrook Blue Devils' defense in the Maryland Elite Summer League game Monday.                              PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  ROCKVILLE — The Magruder Colonels overcame a slow start to seize the second-half momentum and hand the Springbrook Blue Devils their first loss of the season Monday, 48-40 in the Maryland Elite Summer Basketball League at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School Daniel Pearl Memorial Gymnasium.

The previously undefeated Blue Devils looked quite different from the basketball team that last donned the navy blue and Columbia blue back in February. Eight seniors graduated, giving the underclassmen an opportunity to step up and earn their spot on the team.

However, youth and inexperience often go hand in hand.

That inexperience came into play against Magruder. The Blue Devils started the game with a 7-0 run and even though forward Xavier Harris and guard Timitrius Hawkins combined for 16 first-half points, the Colonels trailed by just three at halftime.

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Good Counsel boys beat Sherwood in summer league basketball

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Sherwood vs. Good CounselROCKVILLE — A Good Counsel Falcons squad that gave up the lead only once suppressed the Sherwood Warriors Monday night in a Maryland Elite summer league basketball game, 58-43.

Both teams came into the game with handicaps: a slimmer roster due to player commitments over the summer months and depleted of the previous season’s seniors.

The limitations forced the teams to make do with what they had and showcased some of the new up-and-coming talent for both teams. The Falcons were a mostly young team made up of mostly sophomores, according to summer league head coach Anthony Guy.

The Warriors sunk a three-pointer to counter the Falcons’ two-point start, but the Falcons retaliated in force. A six-point scoring streak gave the Falcons the lead and a momentum they never lost throughout the rest of the game.

“Shots are going to fall, some shots are going to come out, there’s going to be turnovers, there’s going to be ebb and flows in the game, but as long as we can control our energy…some things that you can control and we’ve been trying to harp on all summer, especially with the younger guys,” said Guy.

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Springbrook Blue Devils fall to O’Connell Knights in Capitol Hoops game, 69-57

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Springbrook’s Jonathan Lapierre (23) gets trapped as he drives to the basket during during Capitol Hoops game played at DeMatha. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHSpringbrook’s Jonathan Lapierre (23) gets trapped as he drives to the basket during during Capitol Hoops game played at DeMatha. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  HYATTSVILLE – Despite a game-high 23 points from rising senior Timitrius Hawkins, the Springbrook Blue Devils couldn’t overcome a talented Bishop O’Connell squad Friday in the Capitol Hoops Summer League at DeMatha, as the Knights defeated the Blue Devils, 69-57.

Point guard Ayan Teel led four Knights in double figures en route to a Bishop O’Connell victory over Springbrook at Morgan and Kathy Wootten Gymnasium.

“They are a good team,” said Springbrook head coach Darnell Myers, “and they’re well-coached and they got good players.”

Teel, who finished with 14 points, helped Bishop O’Connell jump out to a 32-30 advantage in the first half before the Knights blew the game open in the second half.

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Big Train’s undefeated streak ends in Game Two of T-Bolts doubleheader

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Bethesda Big Train’s Andrew Shebloski (6) makes contact during the baseball game between Big Train and the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts at Blair Stadium on Saturday. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  CUT (CN9A1385a.JPG): T-Bolts’ Josh Simon (17) pulled down a high throw and made the play on Bethesda Big Train’s Alec Burleson (41) - out at home at Blair Stadium on Saturday. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHBethesda Big Train’s Andrew Shebloski (6) makes contact during the baseball game between Big Train and the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts at Blair Stadium on Saturday.        PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  SILVER SPRING — Out of four Cal Ripken League doubleheaders on Saturday, one involved the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts and the visiting Bethesda Big Train at Blair High School. While the Big Train shut out the T-Bolts in the first game 6-0, Bethesda saw the end of their undefeated streak when the T-Bolts took the second one 8-4.

In Game One, the first run came in the top of the fifth inning when Bethesda outfielder Udie Summerall pinch hit for Tyler Villaroman and singled to left field to drive in Tyler Reis.

Big Train infielders Carson Taylor and John Glenn each had three hits. Taylor went 3-for-5 at the plate with two RBIs, while Glenn also went 3-for-5 with one RBI and two runs.

“They’re great players,” said Bethesda manager Sal Colangelo. “They swing the bat very well. They went up there with an idea and went playing what they had, what they wanted to do.”

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Baltimore Redbirds soar past Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts, 9-4

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Baltimore Redbirds' Mac Starbuck (49) manages to slide safely to first base under the glove of Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts first baseman Tucker Childers (22),Baltimore Redbirds' Mac Starbuck (49) manages to slide safely to first base under the glove of Silver Spring-Takoma T-Bolts first baseman Tucker Childers (22), PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTH SILVER SPRING — The visiting Baltimore Redbirds defeated The Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts Friday night at Montgomery Blair High School, 9-4. The game remained close with the T-Bolts up by one at the end of the seventh inning, but the Redbirds dominated the last two innings thanks to some huge knocks that earned Baltimore the victory.

“It’s the game of baseball,” Silver Spring-Takoma manager Doug Remer said. “In the game of baseball, you got to make sure every at-bat counts, every pitch counts no matter what the score is, so we were up, but we didn’t have that sense of urgency where we needed to shut it down right then. We thought that we could just cruise like we have been, and that’s what’s going to happen, especially against a good team.”

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