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Gaithersburg Trojans fall to Perry Hall Gators in boys hoops state semis, 85-62

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Gaithersburg senior guard Kevin Neal (3) runs into the brick wall that is Perry Hall senior forward Anthony Higgs (24). PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTHGaithersburg Trojans' senior guard Kevin Neal (3) runs into the brick wall that is the Perry Hall Gators' senior forward Anthony Higgs (24). The Trojans would fall to the Gators, 85-62. PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTH  COLLEGE PARK — The Gaithersburg Trojans were simply overmatched by the Perry Hall Gators Thursday night in the Maryland 4A state semifinals at Xfinity Center.

Although the Trojans sought to capture their first state championship in 20 years, Gaithersburg couldn’t handle a Perry Hall varsity boys basketball team that was on a mission.

Perry Hall, the defending Maryland 4A state champion, moved a step closer to another state title by posting an 85-62 victory over the Trojans.

Xavier Gravette led four Gators in double figures with a game-high 19 points and Tyler Holley added 17 points while Anthony Walker and Anthony Higgs added 15 points each.

Perry Hall boasted a roster that most Maryland private school basketball programs would envy; the Gators feature 6-foot-9 LaQuill Hardnett along with the 6-foot-8 Walker and Higgs. Cameron Wheeler, Gravette and Holley are each listed at 6-foot-4.

“We haven’t played anybody in Montgomery County with that type of size,” Gaithersburg head coach Jeff Holda said afterward. “The closest thing would be Paint Branch.”

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Paint Branch boys fall to Perry Hall Gators in 4A North Regionals

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Paint Branch senior Bobby Miller floats up under the rim to put the ball in for two. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFEPaint Branch senior Bobby Miller floats up under the rim to put the ball in for two. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  BURTONSVILLE — When the second-seeded Paint Branch Panthers varsity boys basketball team took the court Saturday for the 4A North Regional championship game against the visiting Perry Hall Gators from Baltimore County, the Burtonsville squad wore t-shirts that read “OC pressure.”

That meant “Outta Control pressure.”

It was a mantra the Panthers took to heart in the first half, a motto that enabled them to go into halftime with a five-point lead. However, the defending state champion Gators orchestrated an 8-0 scoring run in the third quarter to pull away from the Panthers and stamp their ticket to the Xfinity Center by a score of 88-75.

The regional title game loss to the Gators is the second one the Panthers have suffered in as many years. Perry Hall knew the key to victory was to contain Paint Branch junior guard Richard Dudley, especially after Dudley earned 25 of his 32 points in the first half.

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Gaithersburg boys come back late to defeat B-CC Barons, winning 4A West regionals

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With an emphatic dunk, Gaithersburg’s Jao Ituka (#25) helped the Trojans defeat the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Barons to capture the 4A West Regional Championship and advance to the semifinals at the University of Maryland's Xfinity Center on March 8 in College Park. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHWith an emphatic dunk, Gaithersburg’s Jao Ituka (#25) helped the Trojans defeat the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Barons to capture the 4A West Regional Championship and advance to the semifinals at the University of Maryland's Xfinity Center on March 8. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  ROCKVILLE — In 1998, the underdog Gaithersburg Trojans varsity boys basketball team prepared to face the Oxon Hill Clippers in the state championship game. Facing a 16-point deficit at halftime, the Trojans came back, and five overtimes later, became state champions. Gaithersburg hasn’t come close since, not even winning regional.

Until now.

Gaithersburg didn’t take a lead until the fourth quarter, but when the Trojans finally pulled ahead, they didn’t look back as they narrowly defeated the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Barons, 65-61.

“It’s the culmination of an entire season,” Gaithersburg head coach Jeff Holda said. “Being a coach in this program for 12 years, and knowing that it’s been 20 years since our last trip there, it means the world to me.”

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Parker leads Sandy Spring Friends to PVAC championship win over St. Anselm’s Abbey

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Mikey Parker (11) of Sandy Spring Friends scores two of his game-high 35 points in the PVAC Championship game against St. Anselm's Abbey.  PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTHMikey Parker (11) of Sandy Spring Friends scores two of his game-high 35 points in the PVAC Championship game against St. Anselm's Abbey. PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTH  ROCKVILLE — Mikey Parker saved the best for last.

Parker, a Sandy Spring Friends School senior, scored a game-high 35 points on Saturday to lead the Wildebeests to a 74-64 victory over St. Anselm’s Abbey in the Potomac Valley Athletic Conference championship game at Wootton High School.

“It meant a lot to win the game,” said Parker, a three-year starter at the Montgomery County private school who was also named MVP. “I didn’t know I had that many points during the game.”

During his senior campaign, Parker led the PVAC in scoring and registered a career-high 51-point game in December. His numbers throughout the season were astronomical to say the least.

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Point guard Bailey leads Rockville boys to victory over Blake, 64-51

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Rockville Rams’ freshman forward Jimmy Sorunke (#42) shoots from the lane with three Blake defenders on him in the section semifinal. PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITHRockville Rams’ freshman forward Jimmy Sorunke (#42) shoots from the lane with three Blake defenders on him in the section semifinal.     PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITH  ROCKVILLE – Anthony Bailey was on fire Monday night against Blake.

The senior point guard scored a game-high 19 points, leading the Rockville Rams varsity boys basketball team to a 64-51 win over the visiting Blake Bengals at Jim Conner Coliseum.

“It’s a very big win for me and the whole team,” said Bailey. “We’re just trying to win and survive and stay alive and go onto the next one.”

The Rams advanced to Wednesday’s section championship game against visiting Westminster, who knocked off the Magruder Colonels on Monday.

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No Gibson, no problem: B-CC boys dominate Churchill in 4A hoops playoffs, 77-61

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B-CC Barons’ Miles English (24) drives to the basket guarded by Churchill Bulldogs’ Martin Geenan (44).  PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTHB-CC Barons’ Miles English (24) drives to the basket guarded by Churchill Bulldogs’ Martin Geenan (44). PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTH  BETHESDA — As starting center and lead scorer for the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Barons varsity boys basketball team, Gordon Gibson had already missed the final two games of the regular season due to a concussion. After the player’s medical appointment just hours before the top-seeded Barons took on the fifth-seeded Churchill Bulldogs, B-CC received heartbreaking news: Gibson would miss the remainder of the season.

However, as a three-pointer from Kevin McAuliffe splashed through the net in the first quarter, B-CC seemed to forget all about their missing star player as their student section erupted in cheers, and the Barons dominated the Bulldogs, winning 77-61.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be pretty because we hadn’t played in 10 days. We just wanted to survive and advance,” B-CC head coach Sean Tracy.

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Blake boys get payback on Watkins Mill with playoff win, 57-50

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WM Wolverines vs. Blake BengalsSILVER SPRING — They say revenge is sweet.

The Blake Bengals varsity boys basketball team got payback against the visiting Watkins Mill Wolverines Friday night in a first-round playoff game by posting a 57-50 win over the Wolverines.

Watkins Mill eliminated Blake from the postseason last year by capturing an 11-point overtime win against the Bengals who had rallied from a 25-point first-half deficit.

“Last year they came in here, we lost to them in overtime,” said Blake head coach Dondrell Whitmore, “and to finally come out and actually get a playoff win is huge for us at Blake.”

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Churchill boys narrowly upset Einstein in first round of hoops playoffs, 74-73

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20180223 Churchill Einstein BBall 1Churchill's Reed Moshyedi catches fire in the fourth quarter, scoring 16 points to beat Einstein. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  

KENSINGTON — A long rebound sailed out to the Einstein Titans’ Joey Curtin, with his team trailing by two points Friday night. Curtin put up a three-pointer, and drained it, pumping his fist as the Einstein crowd roared. With 11.8 seconds left, the visiting Churchill Bulldogs put the ball in the hands of its star player, Reed Moshyedi. Moshyedi drove to the baseline, before rising up into the air to fire a shot. With 2.9 seconds to play, the ball splashed through the net.

Moshyedi’s jump shot gave Churchill a one-point lead, and after Einstein missed a deep heave, the clock hit zero with the Bulldogs winning the game, 74-73.

“We’ve been in a lot of close games, and lost a lot of close games late,” Churchill head coach Dave Blumenthal said. “I think tonight is where those experiences of losing close games really helped us be able to withstand a really tough three and be able to come down and make a play and pull it out.”

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Georgetown Prep boys triumph over Bullis to win IAC hoops title

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Georgetown Prep’s Chimezie Offurum (#12) pops the one-handed jump shot as Bullis’ Lincoln Yeutter (#33) looks on and Kolin Lewis (#13) tries to sell a charge call. PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITHGeorgetown Prep’s Chimezie Offurum (#12) pops the one-handed jump shot as Bullis’ Lincoln Yeutter (#33) looks on and Kolin Lewis (#13) tries to sell a charge call. PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITH  NORTH BETHESDA — For the past eight years, two schools have had a stranglehold on the Interstate Athletic Conference Tournament Championship trophy – Bullis and Episcopal.

However, the Georgetown Prep Little Hoyas varsity boys basketball team was crowned the 2018 IAC Tournament champion following a 60-49 win over the visiting Bullis Bulldogs Tuesday at The Hanley Center.

The Georgetown Prep senior class will graduate this year knowing they were the first team in a decade to capture the IAC championship trophy.

“This group is so special,” said Georgetown Prep head coach Ryan Eskow. “I can’t even describe how special this group is.”

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Ninth grader stands out in Rockville victory over WJ, 49-46

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Rockvlle’s Jimmy Sorunke (#42) gets a hand up trying to block WJ’s Josh Forburger (#20). Sorunke scored a game-high 16 points for Rockville Rams, who would go on to defeat WJ, 49-46. PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITHRockvlle’s Jimmy Sorunke (42) tries to block WJ’s Josh Forburger (20). Sorunke scored a game-high 16 points for Rockville Rams, who would go on to defeat WJ, 49-46. PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITH  ROCKVILLE — A freshman stole the show on Senior Night at Jim Conner Coliseum.

Jimmy Sorunke, a 6-foot-10 ninth-grader who moved to the United States from Nigeria last year, scored a game-high 16 points Tuesday to lead the Rockville Rams varsity boys basketball team to a 49-46 win over the visitingWalter Johnson Wildcats.

“Jimmy had a great performance,” said Rockville head coach Todd Dembroski. “Jimmy was playing on one good leg tonight, he was hobbling around. He was playing injured, playing hurt but he sucked it up and he came in there and had a great fourth quarter when his team needed it.”

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