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RM edges out Good Counsel in Maryland Elite hoops game

Good Counsel's Bez Mbeng (5) takes it to the hoop past Richard Montgomery High  School's Ryan Cornish (3) and Brian Sadeghi (1).  PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHGood Counsel's Bez Mbeng (5) takes it to the hoop past Richard Montgomery's Ryan Cornish (3) and Brian Sadeghi (1). PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  ROCKVILLE — Djordje Orcev saved the best for last.

The Richard Montgomery Rockets’ rising senior scored two key baskets late in Monday’s game against the Good Counsel Falcons, sparking the Rockets to a 43-40 victory over the Falcons in the Maryland Elite Summer League at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School.

“He had an awesome game,” Richard Montgomery assistant Azhar Shamsudeen said afterward.

Orcev, who finished with a game-high 18 points, converted a free throw with 49.6 seconds remaining in the contest and scored in traffic to help the Rockets seal the deal in the waning moments.

“We were down for most of the game,” said Orcev. “It was a rough first half, definitely, and we came back, we inched forward and at the end there we had to close it out.”

Meanwhile, Good Counsel was led by Bez Mbeng, Daysjuan Waters and RJ Floyd who combined for 28 points against Richard Montgomery.

Mbeng, a rising sophomore, finished with a team-high 10 points and Floyd and Waters each scored nine points for the Falcons.

Devin Liyanamana, a rising junior, finished with 11 points, including three three-pointers, and 6-foot-9 forward Miles Gally was a strong inside presence for the Rockets.

Gally, a rising senior, rose above the rim and slammed home two points to give Richard Montgomery a 20-18 advantage with 12:54 remaining in the contest.

“He had a little bit of a rough start at the beginning,” said Orcev, “but at the end there he had two huge post-up moves that really pushed us to that position where we could fight for that finish.”

Good Counsel went on a 14-7 run in the second half and took a lead on three consecutive baskets from Mbeng.

Mbeng’s jumper late in the contest gave Good Counsel a 35-31 advantage with 5:15 remaining. Waters scored moments later to give the Falcons a six-point cushion before Orcev sparked the Richard Montgomery comeback. The Rockets went on a 9-3 run highlighted by Orcev’s putback dunk with 2:20 remaining and a three-pointer from Liyanamana.

“He had that nice putback dunk so he had a strong three, four minutes,” said Shamsudeen, “and Miles was huge down the stretch.”

The Rockets are coming off a strong showing in the Capitol Hoops Summer League at DeMatha and have been impressive this summer with wins over some of the area’s top private school programs including DeMatha.

“We’ve just been trying to prove this whole summer that we can compete with the top teams and any private school, any public school,” said Orcev. “Just like in the DeMatha league we showed that we could beat Bullis and compete with Georgetown Prep and DeMatha.”

Richard Montgomery guard Ryan Cornish, a rising sophomore, finished with six points but also played an integral role down the stretch.

“We’re going to be really good and deep this year so that’s really big,” said Shamsudeen. “You know how high school basketball season is, you have injuries, you have anything crazy happen so it’s good to know that you have a deep team and even if you have one guy or two guys out, you could still compete.”

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