All-Sentinel Boys Varsity Soccer Team named for 2017

All Sentinel Boys Varsity Soccer Coach Player of the YearAll-Sentinel honors include B-CC head coach Guillermo Melendez as Coach of the Year and Churchill senior forward Darius Siahpoosh as Player of the Year.   PHOTOS BY DAVID WOLFE AND NICKOLAI SUKHAREV  As the third Montgomery County team in five years to win the boys state soccer title, the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Barons defeated the Severna Park Falcons in a tense 1-0 victory at Loyola University in Baltimore.

Despite finishing third in their division, the Barons defeated Kennedy, Whitman, Churchill, Gaithersburg, and Sherwood en route to Loyola to earn their first title in a decade. B-CC’s victory follows 2016 champions Walter Johnson, 2014 champions Walt Whitman, and 2012 champions Wootton.

Unlike in 2016, where the Walter Johnson solely represented the county in the final four, the Sherwood advanced to the semifinals before falling 1-0 to the Barons at Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School in Upper Marlboro.

In 2017, the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association organized the county into four divisions, unlike the three used in 2016. The 4A schools were organized into three of the four divisions while the 3A and 2A schools composed the remaining group.


Northwest girls basketball team keeps Magruder winless

Northwest Jaguars vs. Magruder ColonelsROCKVILLE — Basketball season may have just begun, but don’t tell that to the Magruder and Northwest girls varsity teams. The two squads clashed Tuesday in a hard-fought seesaw game that saw the visiting Northwest Jaguars pull away at the last minute and hand the Magruder Colonels their third loss, 53-49.

Both teams appeared evenly matched from the very first whistle and neither the Colonels nor the Jaguars trailed by more than four points during the course of the game. Magruder’s Laila Grant and Northwest’s Khienya Benjamin, both senior guards, traded highlight reel plays and finished as the highest scoring player on their respective teams. Grant registered 27 points and Benjamin wasn’t far behind with 20 points of her own.

Even though Northwest missed several big buckets that could have helped them pull away from Magruder, the Jaguars made up for their errors by stealing turnovers and grabbing rebounds.

Benjamin, however, wasn’t worried about the Colonels coming away with the victory.

“I have confidence in myself and I have confidence in my team and I know that we want to win,” she said. “I heard about [Grant] and she is a great player but we matched their intensity.”


Churchill boys basketball team beats Watkins Mill on the road

CN9A3276aChurchill senior Martin Geenan (44) takes it to the basket after a fast break as Watkins Mill senior Markel Grant (1) tries to defend. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  MONTGOMERY VILLAGE — Former Good Counsel assistant David Blumenthal picked up his first victory as head coach of the Churchill Bulldogs varsity boys basketball team Monday in the Bulldogs’ 56-26 road win over the Watkins Mill Wolverines.

“Anytime you can get a road win it’s huge,” said Blumenthal.

Churchill senior Jake Ruben scored a game-high 13 points as the Bulldogs improved to 1-1.

“Ruben is definitely a guy that we look to off the bench as a huge spark,” said Blumenthal. “He comes in, he’s full of energy, he’s all over the court and the kid can shoot so he comes in and he gets space and he hits that three, it seems to get everybody up. They start to steamroll once he hits one or two so he stepped up big.”


Landon wrestler edges friend and Magruder wrestling foe, ties series at 3-3

Cramma vs. Giron at Mad Mats TournamentMagruder's C.J. Cramma faces off once more against friend and wrestling rival Landon's Axel Giron, who was the victor in the match at the Mad Mats Tournament at Magruder High School. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  DERWOOD — As C.J. Cramma pursues this year’s 120-pound 4A-3A state title after having placed third at states last season, Landon junior Axel Giron will be among the Magruder senior’s greatest supporters.

That’s due, in part, to Giron scoring a double-leg takedown of Cramma in the final seconds to secure a 5-4 victory in Saturday’s finals of Mad Mats Tournament at Magruder, a feat which evened his series mark to three wins each against Cramma, whom he won't have to wrestle for the remainder of their high school season.

“Second period, I got the first point for a 1-0 lead, then it was 2-1 after he took me down. I escaped to make it 2-2,” said Giron, a triple-overtime winner of their summer meeting at a Landon wrestling camp.


Poolesville junior soars with fellow Falcons at Magruder’s Mad Mats Tournament

Mad Mats Tournament 12 9 17Richard Montgomery's Antonio Pedone grapples with Landon's Matt Amitay, advancing in the 138 lb. weight class during the Mad Mats Tournament at Magruder High School on Saturday. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK DERWOOD — Poolesville junior Kieran Barney finished with a record of 8-15 last year and the 182-pounder began this, his third-ever season of wrestling, on his back.

Barney was pinned in 3:34 by Sherwood’s sophomore county and regional fourth-place finisher Adam Pfeiffer during a 38-37 dual meet victory by the Falcons on Dec. 6, and was itching to redeem himself in last Saturday’s Mad Mats Tournament at Magruder.

In the end, it was Barney planting shoulders to the mat for the Falcons at Mad Mats as he decked all three opponents, including Good Counsel senior Alwyn Taylor in 2:38 of their title bout. His triumph paced the Falcons to third place in the 19-team field behind champion St. Paul’s of Baltimore County and Stephen Decatur of Berlin in Worcester County.

“Kieran did a lot of lifting during the offseason and wrestled in a couple of tournaments here and there. He just never gives up and goes at it 100 percent,” said Poolesville head coach Tim Tao.

“He asks lots of questions like, ‘Show me this,’ and, ‘Show me that,’ and is eager to learn. I told him after his finals match at Mad Mats if he wrestled like that all year, he’s placing at counties, regions and going to states.”


Despite shaky start, Churchill defeats Watkins Mill in girls basketball, 53-27

Churchill Bulldogs vs. Watkins Mill WolverinesPOTOMAC — It was an interesting turn of events to see the Churchill Bulldogs win Monday night, 53-27, against the Watkins Mill Wolverines in girls basketball, given the Bulldogs’ shaky start to the game.

The Bulldogs are now 3-0, while the Wolverines have yet to earn their first win.

The result was made even more interesting when it was found out that the Bulldogs squad is made up of almost all underclassmen, with the exception of senior guard Abby Mazer and junior forward Kamryn Testa. Meanwhile the Wolverines had a healthy mix of different age groups.

The first quarter showed a Wolverines squad that was in sync and in control, as they drained bucket after bucket to come ahead 11-8 by the end of the first quarter.


Montgomery County’s high school wrestling preview

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.”


Churchill Lady Bulldogs dominate Sherwood in girls b-ball, 59-34

W DSC6098 1Cat Correa (22) of the Churchill Lady Bulldogs crosses into the lane under pressure from a Sherwood player.     PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  POTOMAC — The Churchill Lady Bulldogs varsity basketball team once again fulfilled their goal of holding opponents to less than 35 points a game on Friday as they soundly defeated the visiting Sherwood Warriors, 59-34.

The 35-point threshold exists thanks to a theory by head coach Kate Blanken that suggests keeping opponents below that mark will allow the Lady Bulldogs to win games.

So far, so good.

The plan worked against a 1-1 Sherwood team that struggled to score just one bucket in the entire first half, other than 12 points at the free throw line.


Northwest Jags keep Watkins Mill Wolverines at bay, winning 59-52

Northwest Jaguars vs. Watkins Mill WolverinesGERMANTOWN — The Northwest Jaguars had their work cut out for them as they eked out a 59-52 victory against the Watkins Mills Wolverines Friday night.

The Jaguars held the lead for most of the game as the Wolverines stayed close behind, at one point tying it up. But the Wolverines could never muster enough momentum to score enough and overcome the Jaguars.

Inopportune fouls and inaccurate shots held back the Wolverines, but what hurt the most were the missed free throw shots.


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

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.