Saturday, March 08, 2014 5:02 AM
Published on: Thursday, February 07, 2013
By Brandy L. Simms
GAITHERSBURG – Paint Branch senior John Onukaogu scored a game-high 15 points Friday to lead the Panthers to a 63-46 victory over Gaithersburg in a battle of non-division rivals.
Onukaogu led three Paint Branch players in double figures as the Panthers kept pace atop the Montgomery 4A East division standings. Paint Branch seniors Tristan Toliver (13 points) and Tre Galloway (11 points) were also instrumental in the victory.
The Panthers play in a division that includes Sherwood, Blair, Kennedy, Springbrook and Blake.
“I think, honestly, we have the toughest region,” said Paint Branch senior Jordan Radway, who finished with eight points against the Trojans. “All those others schools, they have a cakewalk to the state championship. I think we grind it out. We play tough teams two times. Other schools, they get to play the weak schools so I think we have the toughest division.”
Meanwhile, Gaithersburg continues to struggle despite an athletic lineup that features 6-foot-7 junior center Zach Coalmon, 6-foot-4 sophomore forward Kamonte Carter and 5-foot-10 senior guard Mateen Etheridge, the Trojans’ leading scorer.
Etheridge, Oshay Greene and J.P. Herbert each finished with eight points apiece to pace the Trojans.
Paint Branch led 27-21 at halftime and outscored the Trojans in the second half, 36-24. Gaithersburg pulled to within seven points early in the fourth quarter before Paint Branch went on a 19-9 run and cruised to their fifth consecutive win.
“They’re a really good team,” said Gaithersburg head coach Kevin Parrish. “We knew we’d have to play close to a perfect game to beat them.”