Gaithersburg knock Good Counsel out of the playoffs in basketball

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ROCKVILLE – The Maryland Elite Summer Basketball League playoffs kicked off Monday at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School Daniel Pearl Memorial Gymnasium.

Third-seeded Gaithersburg clashed with Good Counsel in a game that saw the Trojans ride a dominant first half to a 53-38 victory to advance to the second round of the postseason. Gaithersburg rising senior Kevin Neal registered 20 points and was named Player of the Game. Even though the Falcons lost, rising senior guard Cameron Carter led all scorers with 22 points. Gaithersburg’s tight defense stymied the Falcons offensively as the Trojans scored 17 unanswered points to open the first half.

In fact, of the 14 total points Good Counsel earned in the first half, Carter scored eight of them at the free-throw line.


Bullis tops Georgetown Prep in the first round of the MD Elite Summer League playoffs

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ROCKVILLE — In the first round of the MD Elite Summer League playoffs, the Bullis Bulldogs beat the Georgetown Prep Hoyas, 63-45, in a rematch of the 2016-17 IAC boys basketball championship game.

Bullis received the fifth seed in the MD Elite Summer League playoff bracket, while Georgetown Prep was the 12th seed.

The game stayed very close in the early stages, both teams matching the other’s baskets. The lead swung back and forth on seemingly every possession. Bullis’ Louis Wilson converted an and-1 to give Bullis 13-11 lead about mid-way through the first half.


Matthew Balanc’s dominant performance carries Springbrook to blowout win over Einstein

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ROCKVILLE — In a battle of two teams on pace to qualify for the Maryland Elite Summer League playoffs, Springbrook Blue Devils star point guard Matthew Balanc (20 points) carried his team to a 66-48 rout over the Einstein Titans.

Balanc started the game for the Blue Devils, but started off extremely cold, in fact the entire Springbrook team struggled to put the ball through the net, not making a field goal for the first five minutes of the game. Einstein started the game on fire however, leading 10-1 with 10:12 remaining the first half.

With 8:25 remaining in the first half, Balanc collided with teammate Cam Rucker and went down hard. Holding his head, Balanc lay on the ground for around a minute. Balanc was helped up by Springbrook head coach Darnell Meyers, but walked off on his own power. Just 18 seconds of game time later, Balanc re-entered the game, and everything changed for Springbrook there.


Watkins Mill hopes to enter postseason, with 50-42 victory against Rockville

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ROCKVILLE – With the Maryland Elite Summer Basketball League playoffs kicking off on July 20, teams on the cusp of elimination scratched and clawed Monday to earn a victory that would hopefully result in that coveted playoff berth.

Watkins Mill clashed with Rockville at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School lower school gym in a game that kicked off with the Rams digging themselves a hole they couldn’t climb out of. The squad from Gaithersburg ended up one step closer to the postseason with a 50-42 victory.


Delayed by rain, Northwest comes back to defeat Blair in playoffs 3-2

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xNorthwest vs. Blair baseball 3bNorthwest’s Griffin Bubb slides into third base as Blair’s Sam Strongin dives for the ball.    PHOTO BY CAROLYN KOMATSOULISIn the previously suspended MPSSAA Regional Finals Playoff game, some of the most exciting baseball of the year was had for an all too brief time on day two, as the Northwest Jaguars (17-4) came back to win 3-2 against the Blair Blazers (15-7) at Northwest High School on Saturday evening.

The brief resumption of the game, with only a few batters and less than twenty minutes of actual play, changed the trajectory of two programs for this season. For the Blazers, their season ends in a tough way. For the Jaguars, they move onto the state semifinals against the Eleanor Roosevelt Raiders at Shirley Povich Field on Tuesday afternoon. The winner plays in the state championship.

Northwest head coach Todd Varesco talked about the game interruption due to rain, saying, “Yesterday, we stopped when we felt we had momentum and to look back on it before we left here today we said ‘it wasn’t a bad thing the day got stopped. We got to reboot and come back tomorrow and we’re just going to play our game.’ And I’ll tell you all the guys were focused. Not one thought we were going to lose, and I got to tip my cap to them because coaching did nothing today. It was all those guys. Just rose to the occasion. Rose above the flood.”

Blair head coach Eric Zolkiewicz said of the delay on account of rain, “I have nothing to comment. We can’t change the weather. Both teams had to deal with the same circumstances. You just had to come out and play.”


Bulldogs crush Vikings in LAX playoffs 10-3

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xChurchill Bulldogs vs. Whitman Vikings LAX 2bChurchill’s Ryan Leonard (5) goes for the goal as Whitman defenders move to intercept.    PHOTO BY MARK POETKER

After a close three quarters, the Churchill Bulldogs boys varsity lacrosse team (15-1) lambasted the Whitman Vikings (11-4), 10-3 in the MPPSSA regional semifinals at Churchill Stadium on Monday evening.

Bulldogs junior attacker Ryan Leonard (3 goals) said of the win, “We always have a chip on our shoulder playing against Whitman. They’re our rivals. So, we knew we wanted to come in and win.”

Bulldogs senior goalie Alex Crombie credited the win on the Bulldogs’ team energy, saying, “We all came out just as we would in a playoff game. Against Wootton we came out with a lot of energy. Tonight was no different. It mostly started on the defensive end. We brought a lot of energy. Although our offense had a slow start. I thought the energy resonated. They picked up as the game went on. They feed off it. A lot of our success came off the energy we had.”


Wizards on Upswing, Will They Become Talk of The Town?

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WASHINGTON  Fans from Montgomery County and players and coaches of the Washington Wizards (33-21) are getting excited about their team’s playoff hopes, which was apparent Friday evening at the Verizon Center as the Wizards beat the Indiana Pacers (29-24), 112-107.

Another playoff run reminiscent of the 1977-1978 Washington Bullets’ championship season might have the Wizards becoming the talk of the town once again.

Wizard point guard John Wall commented on the game and the crowd. “For one, the crowd has been amazing for us. It’s the reason why we could comeback. We were down and going through tough times. They helped us get out of that hole we were in. It was a big shot due to a couple of misses, and we got an offensive rebound. He made it. It was a big shot for us. It was a turning point for us. It put us up four.”


Vinson runs roughshod over Bears as Hornets win 3A West Region

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Damascus senior rusher scores six touchdowns in 42-21

DSC 7652-2Damascus running back Markus Vinson uses an open slot on the sideline to carry the ball for a first down. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE

DAMASCUS – The Damascus varsity football team stamped its ticket to the state semifinals for the third year in a row Friday, defeating Oakdale 42-21 in the 3A West Regional Finals.

Damascus senior running back Markus Vinson bulldozed the Bears’ defense with 31 carries for 276 yards and six touchdowns. 

Vinson’s teammate and fellow senior running back Elijah Atkins posted 16 carries for 138 yards in his first game back since sustaining an injury in the Hornets’ regular season finale against Blair two weeks ago.

The Hornets appeared to be returning to postseason form after two back-to-back scoreless second half performances against Blair and Linganore.

“Each week is just one thing at a time and each matchup is slightly different,” said Damascus Head Coach Eric Wallich. “I’m proud of the way they played.”


Mervo stuns undefeated Sherwood 30-20, eliminates Warriors from playoffs

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SANDY SPRING – This was not has how the season was supposed to end for the Sherwood varsity football team.

After finishing the regular season undefeated, few would have suspected the Warriors would lose a first round playoff game to school that has never won one.

But that is exactly what happened. 

Baltimore’s Mergenthaler Vocation Technical High School (8-2) shocked Sherwood 30-20, upsetting the Warriors (10-0) Friday night during the Maryland 4A Regional Semifinals.

After the victory, Mustangs Head Coach Patrick Nixon told his team that they were going to “shock the State of Maryland.”

“We’ve have been successful the last few years in the city, but this is the first time in school history we won a state playoff game,” Nixon said. “We’ve been working our butts off and a lot of people didn’t give us a chance, you know. I know that they’re a great team, had a great season, but a lot of people didn’t give us a chance coming from Baltimore City and never winning a playoff game, so we wanted to come out here and show people we can play football too.”

The jubilation of the Mervo players was only equaled by the visible disappointment of players from Sherwood.

After the game, some of Sherwood’s players dropped to the ground. Others embraced one another as they came to grips with a sudden end to their season.

“I think it’s just a big disappointment, you know, every guy had high hopes and they believed that were going to go all the way and all that,” said Sherwood running back Travis Levy.

The Mustangs contained Levy, Sherwood’s leading rusher, by dominating the game in the trenches and having multiple defenders dedicated solely to covering Levy and quarterback Michael Mbony throughout the game.

Levy rushed for only 33 yards on 15 carries with no touchdowns.

Mbony ran more effectively for Sherwood with 94 yards on 10 carries, picking up two touchdowns rushing and one passing.

“We put our two best athletes in front of them and just said we’re not going to take our eyes off of them,” said Mervo Head Coach Patrick Nixon.

While penalties propelled the Warriors to a touchdown on their first drive, Mervo recovered and never looked back.

The Mustangs finished off a 10-play, 67-yard drive right before halftime, capped off by a touchdown by running back Rykim Lemon and then struck again with a 95 kickoff return for a touchdown by Armarni Addison to make the game 22-7.

Nixon said the win validated his team’s upcoming status.

“I think we are a good team, I think the sky is the limit for us,” Nixon said. “I think this win right here is big for us now because we thought we could win, but now I think we believe we can win, we know we can and that was a big hurdle for us.”




Vinson’s 3 TDs pushes Swarmin’ Hornets past Linganore in playoffs

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DSC 7092Damascus senior running back Markus Vinson crosses the goal line for a two-point conversion in the game's first half. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE

DAMASCUS – The Damascus varsity football team earned its 25th victory in a row and advanced to the 3A West regional final Friday with a 21-7 playoff win over Linganore at the Hornets’ Nest. 

Hornets running back Markus Vinson provided the lone bright spot in a game riddled with Damascus penalties. The senior rushed for 179 yards and scored all three Hornets touchdowns. 

“We just have to stay mentally strong and finish the game,” said Vinson. “It felt good scoring and getting points for the team but I know that more people could have gotten into the end zone today.”

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