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.
B-CC closed the first quarter on a 10-0 run following McAuliffe’s three-point shot, establishing a lead they would never relinquish. At the end of the first quarter, the Barons’ lead stood at 22-8.
The Bulldogs rolled back some of the deficit in the second quarter, and only went into halftime trailing by 10 points, though Churchill would never pull within single digits of the Barons.
B-CC continued to cruise through the second half, continually keeping their lead between 10 and 20 points over the Bulldogs. When Churchill was forced to foul, B-CC capitalized, not missing a single free throw in the second half of the game. In fact, the Barons only missed two free throws for the entirety of the game. B-CC put in its reserves for the final minutes of the game, and pressed on to a 77-61 win.
Without Gibson in the lineup, Barons senior forward Miles English had a prominent role, and a role in which he played well in tonight. English took over as the team’s big man presence on both ends. Going without Gibson at other points this season, English led in scoring for B-CC. Tonight was no different as English scored 18 points and had eight rebounds.
Churchill center Reed Moshyedi, the reason the Bulldogs lasted this long in the playoffs, played well, but English kept him from having a game-changing impact like he did against Einstein.
B-CC’s emerging star point guard Elijah Wood played equally fantastic. Because of his 6-foot-6 frame, he aided in collecting rebounds and helped against Churchill’s bigger players. Wood used his expanded role to notch a double-double, leading all scorers with 20 points in addition to 11 rebounds.
“I was feeling good, my teammates kept feeding me, so I just kept scoring,” Wood said.
B-CC went with a small lineup, electing to make guard Tyler Groom the fifth starter in the lineup. When Gibson was healthy, Groom was the team’s sixth man. With Groom in a starting role, the Barons, despite having a 17-man roster, had very limited depth. Until the reserves were put into the game, only one player came off the bench for the Barons, guard Justin Graves. Tracy said he isn’t worried about depth, as working on a short rotation is something the Barons have done all season long. Groom finished with 11 points.
The win for the Barons set up a section final game against the arch-rival Whitman Vikings, the section’s number two seed. That game will be played on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at B-CC. The Barons won the previous two matches this season, where Gibson scored 47 combined points (26 and 21 respectively).
Of the impending game against the Vikings, Tracy said, “It’s my favorite game of the year. B-CC/Whitman in the playoffs, it’s like icing on the cake.”