BETHESDA — It was silent in the locker room of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Barons at halftime. In the second game of a B-CC/Northwood varsity girls and boys double-header, the visiting Northwood Gladiators had given the Barons varsity boys basketball team, who entered the night with a 13-game in-County win streak, a true fight in the first half.
“At this point in the season, we know what we have to do, and we just didn’t do it in the first half,” B-CC head coach Sean Tracy said.
The Barons regrouped, and came out on fire in the second half. B-CC kept Northwood scoreless for much of the third quarter, and found the momentum they needed to beat Northwood, 74-60.
“I think it was a buy-in as a collective group,” Tracy said of the second half turnaround. “The guys decided to play defense.”
The favored Barons seemed to play lethargically throughout the first half, especially struggling on the defensive end. In the second quarter, senior Justin Slade had 10 points for Northwood, and led the Gladiators in their upset bid. Northwood and B-CC traded basket for basket, and stayed within one possession of each other until the very end of the first half. The Barons were able to use a 6-0 run at the end of the first half to give themselves a 22-14 lead going into the break.
In the second half however, B-CC finally found separation. The tide of the game really began to turn when Barons senior forward Miles English stripped the ball from a Northwood player, just after that Northwood player had rebounded a Barons missed shot. English quickly put up a layup, made it, and was fouled in the process. English pumped his fist, and the B-CC student section erupted. English did miss the ensuing free throw, but a three-pointer from senior Thomas Baer on the following possession continued to keep the Barons crowd loud and on their feet.
B-CC’s third quarter momentum swing can be attributed to its defense, which toughened up dramatically. Northwood didn’t score in the third quarter until more than half of the quarter had passed.
With the momentum on their side, B-CC continued to roll in the fourth quarter. The Barons made three consecutive three-pointers, and were able to build their lead up beyond 20 points. Northwood closed the gap as B-CC brought in its backups, but it wasn’t enough, as B-CC won the game 74-60.
Baer led a strong three-point shooting night for the Barons in which B-CC made nine three-pointers, five of which were from Baer. Baer led B-CC with 18 points in the game. He also had three rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
In the early parts of the season, turnovers were a major concern for the Barons. B-CC simply didn’t have any chemistry passing the ball. That seems to have changed, however, as B-CC had 16 assists on 28 baskets. Sophomore guard Elijah Wood and Baer led the way with four assists each. In addition to his four assists, Wood had 11 points, two rebounds and two blocks.
Barons center Gordon Gibson had 15 points with nine rebounds, one assist and three blocks.
B-CC improved to 17-3 overall with the win, while Northwood dropped to 4-15-1. B-CC has already clinched both the 4A South division and the number one seed in the section. The win over Northwood upped in the in-County win streak to 14 games, and the overall win streak to 12.
“I think it’s human nature to get complacent and get tense because you don’t want to lose, ” Tracy said of the win streak. “You never want to lose, but when you have a streak it’s just a little more pressure…We always take it one day at a time, one practice at a time, one game at a time,”
B-CC also now has the best record in Montgomery County with two more games in the regular season before the first round of the playoffs.