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Whitman baseball team gets payback with defeat of WJ Wildcats

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Whitman Vikings’ Sam Mermelstein (15) makes it back to second base after taking a bit too much of a lead on WJ Wildcats second baseman Ian Rickles (3). PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHWhitman Vikings’ Sam Mermelstein (15) makes it back to second base after taking too much of a lead on WJ Wildcats second baseman Ian Rickles (3).  PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  BETHESDA — In the second matchup between varsity baseball teams the Whitman Vikings and the Walter Johnson Wildcats, the visiting Whitman offense started out hot, taking an early lead and never looking back as they took down Walter Johnson on their home turf, 10-7.

The Vikings came into the 2017 playoffs as the number one seed in their section, only to lose to the Wildcats in the second round of the playoffs. Then, in the first meeting between Whitman and WJ this season, the Wildcats emerged victorious once again in extra innings. Whitman coach TJ Caswell, filling in for head coach Joe Cassidy for this game, said the Vikings were ready to finally get payback.

“They have a little bitter taste in their mouth. We played them in the playoffs. We lost. We got our teeth kicked in. We wanted to come back this year and own Bethesda,” said Caswell.

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B-CC point guard Lowndes leads Lady Barons to historic victory over Whitman

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B-CC Barons’ point guard Charlotte Lowndes (#11) pushes the ball upcourt against Whitman Vikings’ Molly Knox (#21), constantly pressuring the Whitman defense in the playoff game on the Barons’ home court Tuesday night. The Barons defeated the Vikings 49-25 to advance to the Sectional Final against the Walter Johnson Wildcats on Thursday, March 1. PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITHB-CC Barons’ point guard Charlotte Lowndes (#11) pushes the ball upcourt against Whitman Vikings’ Molly Knox (#21), constantly pressuring the Whitman defense in the playoff game on the Barons’ home court Tuesday night. PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITH  BETHESDA — It had been over eight years since the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Barons girls basketball team last defeated the Whitman Vikings. It had been three years since any girls team other than Whitman won the region. Now, the tables have been turned, and the streak is no more.

Led by a dominant effort from point guard Charlotte Lowndes, B-CC soundly defeated the visiting Vikings, 49-25.

“It’s been tough coming close in past years…It’s nice to return the favor this year, but we expected to do it,” B-CC head coach Ryan Ingalls said of the win.

After falling behind 6-2 in the early minutes of the game, B-CC finally began to click. The Barons rattled off a 12-0 run to end the first quarter, giving them a 14-6 lead. Once B-CC took the lead at 7-6, they never looked back.

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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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Damascus crowns seven champions, dominates for 16th county grappling title

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Undefeated Ryan Lawrence of Damascus earns the 8-6 win in the 145lb championship over Ryan Holland of Blair. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKUndefeated Ryan Lawrence of Damascus earns the 8-6 win in the 145lb championship over Ryan Holland of Blair. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  State champion Ryan Lawrence pinned twice in the first period to reach last Saturday’s 145-pound county title bout, where the Damascus senior overcame Blair’s all-time winning wrestler Ryan Holland, 8-6, for his third straight crown to lead the Swarmin’ Hornets to their seventh consecutive and 16th overall Montgomery County tournament championship at Gaithersburg.

A two-time county and regional champion who was third at states as a sophomore, Lawrence (41-0) was among seven titlists, nine wrestlers who finished within the top three of their weight classes and 10 who were within the top six for the Swarmin’ Hornets (238.5 points), who overwhelmed runner-up Churchill (148.5 points) and the rest of the 25-team field.

Winning counties for the second time were Swarmin’ Hornets’ seniors John Allan Furgeson (152), Ben Lokos (170) and state champion Paul Purkey (195), junior Johnny McLaughlin (126), and sophomore Timothy Furgeson (160), with junior Elijah Baisden (285) capturing his first.

Senior Dyllan Ramirez (132) and sophomore Aiden Beall (220) placed third, and senior Josh Creegan (138), sixth, the latter in the event’s most difficult weight class after having finished third at counties, fourth at regions and sixth at states as a junior.

Other repeat champions were seniors Yonas Harris (106) of Northwest, C.J. Cramma (120) of Magruder, Gabe McAndrew (182) of Bethesda-Chevy Chase, and John-Luke Iglesias (220) of Whitman, with junior Alex Carbonell (113) of Poolesville, senior Bryan Huynh (132) of Blair, and junior Chris Sanchez (138) earning their first crowns.

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Paint Branch rallies for 74-65 win over Whitman in girls basketball

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Paint Branch's Jabria Bruce (#32) drives the lane between Whitman's Molly Knox (#21) and Carter McGloon (#22).  PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITHPaint Branch's Jabria Bruce (#32) drives the lane between Whitman's Molly Knox (#21) and Carter McGloon (#22).   PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITH  BETHESDA — It was a scrappy win for the visiting Paint Branch Panthers against the Whitman Vikings in girls’ basketball, but one that ended in dominant fashion with a narrow 74-65 win.

The Panthers are one of the top teams in the county, while Whitman is a solid mid-table squad, but before halftime it seemed as if the roles were reversed.

Slick passing from the Vikings disoriented the Panthers, and the Vikings’ speedy play helped them gain an edge over the visitors to go into the second quarter with a 21-15 lead.

However, the fluid play came at the cost of a rigid defense that gave up plenty of fouls. Seven of the Panthers’ points in the first quarter came from the line.

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Sanson leads Whitman to upset win over Paint Branch in double OT thriller

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Whitman's Abdou Diouf (#44) blocks Paint Branch's Richard Dudley (#5).  PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITHWhitman's Abdou Diouf (#44) blocks Paint Branch's Richard Dudley (#5).                       PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITHBETHESDA — DJ Khaled’s song “All I Do is Win” blared from the Whitman Vikings’ locker room as the varsity boys basketball team celebrated a victory. The 2017-18 season has been a trying one for Whitman, but on this night, winning was all Whitman would do, no matter how long it took.

Whitman, which has hovered around .500 all season, recorded its signature win with a 70-67 upset of the visiting Paint Branch Panthers in double overtime, a front runner for game of the year.

“This is a big win for us,” Whitman head coach Chris Lun said. “We want to prove that we can hang with some of the better teams in the county. We’re turning the corner.”

“Everyone’s been doubting us from the start of the season…This game means a lot,” Whitman guard Alex Sanson said.

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Blair Blazers take down Sherwood Warriors in critical MoCo dual

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SANDY SPRING — Senior Bryan Huynh endured cramping in his lower right leg and scored an overtime takedown on mat’s edge for a pivotal 6-4 decision against junior Paul Christianson during a 33-32 dual meet victory for the visiting Blair Blazers at Sherwood on Jan. 24.

The Blazers also won the evening’s final two bouts on a fall by Matt Morris (195) and a forfeit to senior Rudy Ngougni (220), erasing a 32-21 deficit and rising to 25-4 overall (11-0 in non-tournament dual meets) under second-year coach Tim Grover.

“I was ahead 2-0 in the first period after the takedown, and it just hit me really hard. I wasn’t sure, at that point, if I’d be able to wrestle well enough to win,” said Huynh, a junior varsity county champion last season.

“I usually shoot a lot more but I wasn’t as confident, thinking my leg would cramp up on me if I took another shot. I had to look for opportunities that were less stressful. I felt a cramp coming on as I took that final shot, but I just pushed through. He had a whizzer in, but I got points for it, and I’m happy I won.”

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B-CC boys earn ninth straight win, defeating hoops rival Whitman

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Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School's Elijah Wood (#3) goes up for a dunk in the game against Whitman. PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITH B-CC Barons' Elijah Wood (#3) goes up for a dunk in the game against the Whitman Vikings. PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITH  BETHESDA — Bethesda-Chevy Chase senior Gordon Gibson scored 26 points against the Whitman Vikings boys varsity basketball team when the visiting B-CC Barons faced them on Jan. 2. On Tuesday, Gibson dropped 22 points against the Barons’ arch-rivals, leading B-CC to its ninth straight win, a 65-47 victory over Whitman.

“It’s been awesome,” B-CC head coach Sean Tracy said of the winning streak. “Just trying to chase perfection, trying to sustain it and maintain it. There’s no reason why we can’t continue to win. There’s no rule that states that you have to lose.”

B-CC and Whitman came into the game going in opposite directions. The Barons entered as winners of eight straight in-County games, while Whitman was in the midst of a two-game losing streak, and a sub .500 record.

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Springbrook does just enough late in the game to defeat Whitman

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Whitman Vikings vs. Springbrook Blue Devils 1 12 15 17Whitman's Joey Squeri and Springbrook's Michael Germain get tangled in the net during a contested rebound.                PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  BETHESDA — Despite a ferocious fourth-quarter comeback attempt by the Walt Whitman Vikings, the Blue Devils of Springbrook High School found the last drops of fuel in their tank in the game’s final minutes to defeat Whitman, 67-59.

Friday’s match – contested by two of Montgomery County’s best squads – was decided by four big scoring runs.

The first belonged to Whitman, which began the game with ten unanswered points until after a Springbrook timeout, after which the Blue Devils rallied, and even took the lead for a few seconds before a buzzer-beating layup by Whitman’s Rodrigo Ruiz gave the Vikings a 16-15 lead at the end of the first quarter.

“Defense,” Springbrook head coach Darnell Meyers immediately responded when asked what changed during the timeout. “And some words I said in the huddle,” Meyers continued with a smile.

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Montgomery County’s high school wrestling preview

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Colonels’ C.J. Cramma aims for elusive state title, while Damascus goes for another team crown 

Magruder’s C.J. Cramma need no further inspiration than his past two meetings with Parkdale of Prince George’s County’s 4A-3A runner-up Axel Giron, who defeated the Colonels’ wrestler, 6-3, in last year’s 113-pound state semifinals, and, in triple-overtime at a summer wrestling camp at Landon High.

Giron lost his state title bout, 3-2, to repeat winner Brent Lorin of Harford County’s Bel Air, a junior like Giron, who has yet to lose a high school bout.

“We were tied 3-3 at states and Giron got back points,” said Cramma, who went 4-1 at states with two pins, a technical fall and a 9-5 decision to end the year with a mark of 41-6. “At Landon, we were tied 4-4 but went into triple-overtime and I lost on the ultimate ride-out.”

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