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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.

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RM Rockets defeat Wootton Patriots in boys basketball, 69 - 65

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Richard Montgomery's Xavier Harris takes on Wootton's Zachary Nannen for two points and the foul. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKRichard Montgomery's Xavier Harris takes on Wootton's Zachary Nannen for two points and the foul. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  ROCKVILLE — The Richard Montgomery Rockets varsity boys basketball team won the unofficial battle of Rockville Friday night against the visiting Wootton Patriots, with the final score 69 - 65.

Richard Montgomery senior Daryn Alexander scored a game-high 23 points to lead three Rockets in double figures against their crosstown rival.

RM standouts Miles Galley (11 points), Djordje Orcev (10 points) and Mark Little (9 points) also contributed to the Rockets’ win.

“Anytime you can beat Wootton who historically is a rival for us, they’re down the street, is always great,” said Richard Montgomery head coach David Breslaw, whose club improved to 7-4.

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Georgetown Prep stays ahead in showdown with Bullis, winning 63-53

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CUT: Georgetown Prep’s Milton Bynum (#3) takes the ball up court as a Bullis’ Kolin Lewis (#13) gives chase in Thursday night’s game. PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITHGeorgetown Prep’s Milton Bynum (#3) takes the ball up court as Bullis’ Kolin Lewis (#13) gives chase in Thursday night’s game.   PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITH  BETHESDA — In the first battle of the year of the top two teams in the Interstate Athletic Conference, it was the Georgetown Prep Little Hoyas varsity boys basketball team who emerged victorious over the Bullis Bulldogs with a 63-53 victory that was won largely on the backs of Georgetown Prep’s big three – Jared Bynum, Ike Nweke and Mezie Offurum – whose combined efforts kept the Hoyas from ever trailing.

“I think it was a sloppy game on both sides,” Georgetown Prep head coach Randy Eskow said. “We need to come out, and we need to be able to win sloppy games. I thought we won a sloppy game tonight, and at the end of the day, that’s what we needed to do.”

As the game tipped off, it was senior Ike Nweke – the Hoyas’ center and a Columbia commit – who was unstoppable, as he led his team on both ends of the floor by amassing four points and four rebounds within the first four minutes of the game, allowing Georgetown Prep to quickly garner a 9-2 lead. Although Bullis made a small run in the middle of the first quarter, Georgetown Prep’s Dejean Desire got hot and pushed the Hoyas back out to a seven-point lead which they held at the end of the first quarter for a score of 18-11.

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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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Gaithersburg Trojans hold off RM Rockets comeback in narrow victory

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Gaithersburg's Jordan Graham drives the center of the lane surrounded by Richard Montgomery players. Graham forced a foul and picked up two points at the line. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFEGaithersburg's Jordan Graham drives the center of the lane surrounded by Richard Montgomery players. Graham forced a foul and picked up two points at the line. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  

GAITHERSBURG — On Friday, the Gaithersburg Trojans proved that its breakout season is the real deal, as they defeated the visiting Richard Montgomery Rockets 45-42.

The Rockets have been the top seed in its section each of the last three years, but this season, Gaithersburg has emerged as a contender. By beating Richard Montgomery, the Trojans proved that they truly will be a force to be reckoned with throughout the season, and into the playoffs.

The Trojans’ star freshman duo of Jao Ituka and Jordan Hawkins, as well as the rest of the Gaithersburg team, didn’t have a very quick start. Gaithersburg didn’t get on the board until nearly midway through the first quarter, but quickly made up the deficit they had fallen into. Behind Ituka’s five first-quarter points, Gaithersburg closed the gap to 15-12 at the end of the first quarter.

The Trojans carried the momentum they had at the end of the first quarter into the second. For the second straight quarter, Gaithersburg came out hot to start the second half. The Trojans began to build a lead, up to 11 points at its largest. The Trojans began to hit three-pointers in the third quarter, after struggling during the first half, which propelled the team on its run.

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Wootton Patriots upset Clarksburg Coyotes in boys basketball, 66-62

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Wootton Patriots' Garrett Koch (#1) and RyanWarshaw (#0) converge on Clarksburg Coyotes' Corey Bullington (#1) as he drives the lane during the game at Wootton on Friday.  PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHWootton Patriots' Garrett Koch (#1) and Ryan Warshaw (#0) converge on Clarksburg Coyotes' Corey Bullington (#1) as he drives the lane during Friday's game at Wootton.                  PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  

ROCKVILLE – The basketball gods were smiling at Wootton High School on Friday night.

True Johnson, a talented 6-foot-5 junior shooting guard, led four Wootton players in double figures with 15 points in the Patriots’ 66-62 win over visiting Clarksburg.

Johnson, who spent last season at Bethesda-Chevy Chase, has emerged as one of the county’s top performers this season, scoring double digits in nearly every game.

“This kid’s got potential to play at the next level at a legit school,” said Wootton head coach Erick Graves.

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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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B-CC boys b-ball team holds on to defeat Bullis, 58-53

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Bullis Guard Nendah Tarke uses the glass to avoid a block attempt by B-CC's Elijah Wood. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKBullis' Nendah Tarke uses the glass to avoid a block attempt by B-CC's Elijah Wood. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  POTOMAC — In a Friday night public/private boys basketball matchup between two of Montgomery County’s better teams, the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Barons held on late to defeat the Bullis School’s Bulldogs 58-53.

Both sides were without a star player in this game. Bullis’ leading scorer Vado Morse missed the game with a leg injury, while B-CC center Gordon Gibson was out for this game dealing with a shoulder injury.

It was clear right from the start that Bullis’ squad was not its’ usual self without Morse, while B-CC was able to better accommodate for Gibson’s absence.

“I knew I really had to step up on the boards, because missing our six-foot, eight-inch big fellow there in the middle is going to hurt if no one else is going in and rebounding,” B-CC forward Miles English said of Gibson’s absence for the lineup. “Before the game, we really put an emphasis on rebounding, and I think we did a good job.”

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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.

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Gaithersburg Trojans vanquish B-CC Barons, 76-57

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Jao3 EditJao Ituka makes a break down the floor after stealing the ball from B-CC's Miles English resulting in a dunk for two points by Ituka. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  GAITHERSBURG — Standout freshmen Jao Ituka and Jordan Hawkins combined for 41 points Friday night to lead the Gaithersburg Trojans to a 76-57 home victory over Bethesda-Chevy Chase.

Ituka, Gaithersburg’s leading scorer, finished with a season-high 24 points and Hawkins added 17 points, a season high for him as well.

Meanwhile, Kevin Neal, a talented senior guard, finished with 16 points to help lift the Trojans to a 4-0 record with wins over Wheaton, Rockville and Northwood in addition to B-CC.

“Kevin is the most under-looked senior in the county in my opinion,” said Gaithersburg head coach Jeff Holda. “He’s ridiculously talented.”

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