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B-CC notches up a thrilling walk-off win over Churchill

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B CC Barons vs. Churchill BulldogsBETHESDA — Heading into the bottom of the sixth inning against the visiting Churchill Bulldogs varsity softball team, the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Barons trailed by eight. Churchill had just come off scoring six runs in the top of the sixth inning. With just six outs to get, it seemed Churchill was in prime position to walk away with a win.

However, the Barons bats caught fire in the bottom of the sixth, and stayed hot in the bottom of the seventh, leading the team to a comeback.

On the heels of nine runs scored in the sixth and seventh innings, B-CC came back, and recorded a thrilling walk off win against Churchill, 17-16.

“We were down by eight runs in the bottom of the sixth, which was almost enough for them to mercy rule us,” B-CC’s Sally Egan said. “But we kept each other excited and once we scored four in the sixth inning, the momentum was all in our favor.”

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Churchill wrestler Connolly gains redemption with dramatic 6-4 overtime state title victory

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Sherwood’s Chris Sanchez had the best of Churchill’s Jack Connolly in this takedown but Connolly went on to win the 138lb match in the Class 4A-3A State Wrestling Championship held at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHSherwood’s Chris Sanchez had the best of Churchill’s Jack Connolly in this takedown but Connolly went on to win the 138lb match in the Class 4A-3A State Wrestling Championship held at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  UPPER MARLBORO — Churchill’s Jack Connolly believed himself destined to win the Class 4A-3A state championship on Monday, and the 138-pound senior did so in dramatic fashion, avenging a pair of setbacks in his final two of four bouts at the Show Place Arena.

Coming off runner-up and third-place finishes over consecutive weekends at the county and regional tournaments, Connolly won his first-round bout by 11-3 major decision over Perry Hall senior Chase Andrews, scored consecutive quarterfinal and semifinal pins in 4:52 and 57 seconds over seniors Jacob Blyukher of Centennial and Nick Gonzalez (32-5) of Clarksburg, and avenged a pair of one-point losses with his come-from-behind, 6-4 overtime championship victory over previously unbeaten junior Chris Sanchez (24-1) of Sherwood.

Andrews was a Baltimore County runner-up who lost the previous Saturday’s Class 4A-3A North Regional championship bout 9-0 to Sanchez, and Blyukher’s teammate is junior Jason Kraisser (39-0), who won his third straight state title on Monday.

Connolly is 1-1 this year against Gonzalez, having lost his regional semifinal 6-2 after being tied at 2-2 late in the third period, and 1-2 against Sanchez, falling 5-4 in a dual meet on a reversal with six seconds left, and 3-2 on a takedown with seven seconds remaining in their county title match.

“I just grew sick of losing, so I gave it every bit of my effort, and it paid off,” said Connolly, who was second at counties and regions and fourth at states as a sophomore, and first at counties, third at regions and fifth at states last year. “I felt like I was being slightly overlooked this whole season. So, all season long, I wanted to prove people wrong, and I think that after states, I finally did.”

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Churchill grappler Connolly seeks redemption at Class 4A-3A states

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Jack Connolly of Churchill lifts Sherwood’s Chris Sanchez but comes up just short, losing to Sanchez in the 138lb weight class championship on Feb. 17. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKJack Connolly of Churchill lifts Sherwood’s Chris Sanchez but comes up just short, losing to Sanchez in the 138lb weight class championship on Feb. 17. Connolly hopes to redeem himself at the Class 4A-3A State Tournament on Saturday. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  Senior 138-pounder Jack Connolly of Churchill sees a path toward redemption entering this weekend’s Class 4A-3A state tournament at The Showplace Arena in Upper Marlboro.

Coming off runner-up and third-place finishes over consecutive weekends at the county and regional tournaments, Connolly (38-6) and his coaches like his chances to win.

“I consider myself a live underdog based on my seeding the last three weeks,” said Connolly, who was second at counties and regions and fourth at states as a sophomore, and first at counties, third at regions and fifth at states last year.

“As seasoned as I am, I haven’t seen a state finals match. That’s exactly what I’m going for. I feel like people are looking past me and the pressure’s off, so I’m taking it one match at a time. I’m ready to go. I’m really excited for a chance to prove everyone wrong.”

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No Gibson, no problem: B-CC boys dominate Churchill in 4A hoops playoffs, 77-61

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B-CC Barons’ Miles English (24) drives to the basket guarded by Churchill Bulldogs’ Martin Geenan (44).  PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTHB-CC Barons’ Miles English (24) drives to the basket guarded by Churchill Bulldogs’ Martin Geenan (44). PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTH  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.

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Region champs Welch, Velikanov among eight Churchill grapplers bound for Class 4A-3A states

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Churchill's Andrew Welch racks up an 11-4 win over Whitman's Yussef Zaki in the 195lb weight class. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKChurchill's Andrew Welch racks up an 11-4 win over Whitman's Yussef Zaki in the 195lb weight class. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  CLARKSBURG — Senior champion Andrew Welch (195) and junior Alec Velikanov (285) are among eight wrestlers of the Churchill Bulldogs who placed fourth or higher at the Feb. 23 and 24 Class 4A-3A West Regionals at Clarksburg, thereby qualifying for this weekend’s Class 4A-3A state tournament at The Showplace Arena in Upper Marlboro.

Finishing third were Churchill seniors Jack Connolly (138), Sean Mahan (145) and Elijah Zack (152), with seniors Chris Ervin (120) and Mac Ballman (170) and junior Carlos Villamar (132) all being fourth.

Winning titles for the Northwest Jaguars were seniors Yonas Harris (106) and Luke Patterson (170), with sophomore Siavash Sarvestani (113) being second, and junior Jack Thomas (195), third.

Clarksburg, Magruder, Quince Orchard and Whitman all placed three wrestlers within the top four, with two each doing so for Bethesda-Chevy Chase and Walter Johnson, and one apiece for Einstein, Gaithersburg and Wootton.

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Churchill boys narrowly upset Einstein in first round of hoops playoffs, 74-73

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20180223 Churchill Einstein BBall 1Churchill's Reed Moshyedi catches fire in the fourth quarter, scoring 16 points to beat Einstein. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  

KENSINGTON — A long rebound sailed out to the Einstein Titans’ Joey Curtin, with his team trailing by two points Friday night. Curtin put up a three-pointer, and drained it, pumping his fist as the Einstein crowd roared. With 11.8 seconds left, the visiting Churchill Bulldogs put the ball in the hands of its star player, Reed Moshyedi. Moshyedi drove to the baseline, before rising up into the air to fire a shot. With 2.9 seconds to play, the ball splashed through the net.

Moshyedi’s jump shot gave Churchill a one-point lead, and after Einstein missed a deep heave, the clock hit zero with the Bulldogs winning the game, 74-73.

“We’ve been in a lot of close games, and lost a lot of close games late,” Churchill head coach Dave Blumenthal said. “I think tonight is where those experiences of losing close games really helped us be able to withstand a really tough three and be able to come down and make a play and pull it out.”

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Sherwood’s Sanchez once again edges Churchill’s Connolly to win county wrestling title

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In a bit of controversy, Chris Sanchez of Sherwood slams Jack Connolly of Churchill to the mat just after the whistle. Sanchez held on for a 3-2 win in the 138lb weight class. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKIn a bit of controversy, Chris Sanchez of Sherwood slams Jack Connolly of Churchill to the mat just after the whistle. Sanchez held on for a 3-2 win in the 138lb weight class.                 PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  Sherwood junior Chris Sanchez faced Churchill senior Jack Connolly in a marquee bout for the second time in as many weeks last Saturday, and their battle delivered a similarly dramatic result.

Sanchez secured a takedown in the final seven seconds of a 3-2 victory, emerging with an 18-0 record and a county title from a duel between two of Maryland’s premiere 138-pound wrestlers at Gaithersburg.

Sanchez repeated an earlier effort against Connolly (35-5) during a Feb. 3 dual meet, where he edged the Bulldogs’ grappler, 5-4, on a reversal with 10 seconds left.

“I never stopped wrestling against a tough competitor who has definitely given me great matches,” said Sanchez, who was fifth at private school states at DeMatha last year. “Connolly just kept on coming today, and I truly believe that I beat him at his best.”

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Gaithersburg dominates Churchill, 90-56, earns second seed in playoffs

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20180216 Churchill Gaithersburg Boys Bball 5Gaithersburg's Jordan Hawkins blocks Churchill's Valvin Piker's drive to basket. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  POTOMAC — The visiting Gaithersburg Trojans varsity boys basketball team ended the regular season with a bang Friday when the Trojans strode into the Dawg Pound and handed the Churchill Bulldogs their 12th loss of the season, 90-56.

The Trojans proved their prowess on both sides of the ball as the defense forced multiple turnovers and beat the Bulldogs on the defensive boards. Freshman guards Jordan Hawkins (26 points) and Jao Ituka (18 points) continued their season-long campaign of highlight reel plays that gave Gaithersburg a comfortable lead for most of the evening.

The Trojans began to pull away after an 18-point unanswered scoring run lasted into the beginning of the second quarter. Churchill’s student section, the Dawg Pound, was uncharacteristically quiet as they watched Hawkins steal the ball during a fast break and take it back up the court for an easy two points.

The Bulldogs appeared renewed in the second half as junior guards John Mbeng and Michael Janis combined for 14 third-quarter points that cut into Gaithersburg’s substantial halftime lead.

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RM Rockets boys shine with 65-57 win over Churchill Bulldogs

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Churchill Bulldogs vs. RM RocketsROCKVILLE — The Richard Montgomery Rockets varsity boys basketball team celebrated their seniors’ last regular season home game with a 65-57 win over the Churchill Bulldogs in a scrappy Tuesday night game.

For most of the night the visiting Bulldogs were nipping at the Rockets’ heels and were able to make up for a poor first quarter by drastically improving the rest of the game.

The improvement was not enough to overcome a scrappy Rockets squad that was able to play an effective game of catch-up and brushed off the Bulldogs’ challenges.

The first quarter ended 14-7 in favor of the Rockets, with senior Rockets forward Xavier Harris scoring five points.

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Churchill sweeps Springbrook, Sherwood in regular-season-ending tri-meet

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Churchill's Marc Ballman needs only 1:41 to fall Sherwood's Adam Pfeiffer in the 170lb weight class. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKChurchill's Marc Ballman needs only 1:41 to fall Sherwood's Adam Pfeiffer in the 170lb weight class. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  After helping his fellow Churchill Bulldogs secure a hard-earned five-point victory over Sherwood’s squad, Andrew Welch sat in the bleachers at Springbrook High School and watched the host team build a 43-point advantage, leading to a 40-point Blue Devil victory over the Warriors.

“We only beat Sherwood by single digits, and sitting in the stands looking at the scoreboard, I saw Springbrook beating them, 49-6, at one point,” said Welch, of an eventual 58-18 victory by the host Blue Devils over the Warriors. “We were getting a little nervous, but our coaches brought us together and told us how matchups work.”

Bulldogs coach Tony Howard, a three-time state champion at Magruder, and Tim Lowe, a two-time state champion at Einstein, assured their wrestlers they were nevertheless confident of taking the Blue Devils. “Our guys saw the score and were a little concerned, but matchups are so unique. Wrestling’s one of those sports where you really can’t watch what’s happening between two other teams,” said Lowe, the Bulldogs’ head coach.

“Coach Howard and myself weren’t concerned. I told them that Sherwood matches up well with us and wrestled us tough, and that we were in for a tough match against Springbrook, but that we have the right matchups as a whole group of 14 wrestlers to get it done.”

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