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Springbrook boys come up short at home against Paint Branch

Paint Branch guard Richard Dudley (5) shoots between Springbrook defenders Anthony Desruisseau (5) & Markell McDaniels (25). PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTHPaint Branch guard Richard Dudley (5) shoots between Springbrook defenders Anthony Desruisseau (5) & Markell McDaniels (25). PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTH  SILVER SPRING – As two of the county’s top varsity basketball teams went head to head on a frigid Friday night, fans arrived in droves at Springbrook High School’s gym entrance only to find handwritten sign reading: “we are currently at capacity.” Such demand for tickets meant the crowd was standing-room-only as they watched the visiting Paint Branch Panthers (8-1) topple the Springbrook Blue Devils (8-2) for the fourth time in a row, 83-71.

With guards Richard Dudley and Xavier Reaves finishing with 21 points, and another player – senior forward Chris Mayaka – putting 19 on the board, Paint Branch was able to showcase a wide variety of scoring threats.

The game started off fast-paced and aggressive from the moment of the opening tip-off, as Springbrook senior guard Matthew Balanc put his signature high-energy playing style on full display by fearlessly driving through the paint for layups, and as he used his 6-foot-3 frame to knock one of Dudley’s shots out of the air.

Despite the result, the Blue Devils kept the score close for most of the first quarter, thanks to Balanc's penchant for hitting big buckets, giving him a game-high 27 points and leading to a quarter that featured five ties as both teams fought hard to pull away.

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Poolesville girls remain undefeated after victory over Damascus basketball team

20180105 Poolesville Damascus Girls 3Poolesville's 6'2" Julia Hobbs beats Damascus players to a loose ball. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  POOLESVILLE — The undefeated Poolesville Falcons on Friday continued to shoot their way into the history books by claiming the visiting Damascus Swarmin’ Hornets as their latest victims, with the final score 52-34, increasing the number in their win column to 10.

On paper, the Swarmin’ Hornets – a middle-of-the-table team with a 3-3-1 record – shouldn’t have been too much of a problem for the Falcons, who came into the game with nine straight wins.

“They’re arguably the best team in the county, and they’re tough," said Swarmin’ Hornets head coach Mike Warfield. "We had a hard time scoring against them because of their length, and we’re not tall."

Despite being outmatched, the Hornets managed to hold their own and keep the first half of the game close. In the first quarter, Damascus struck first and managed to go into the break ahead by one point, at 16-15.

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Churchill Bulldogs maul Wheaton Knights 50-20 in girls basketball

Churchill High School freshman Parker Hill (#33) stuffed Wheaton High School's Caroline  Djukduel (#15) as she went up for a layup in the game played at Churchill Tuesday, January 2, 2018 which the Lady Bulldogs won decisively by a score of 50-20.  PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHChurchill's Parker Hill (#33) stuffs Wheaton Knights' Caroline Djukduel (#15) as she attempts a layup.The Churchill Bulldogs won by a score of 50-20. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  POTOMAC — It was over for the Wheaton Knights girls basketball team Tuesday night by the end of the first quarter as the Churchill Bulldogs started strong and never let off. In the end, the Bulldogs emerged triumphant against the Knights, the final score 50-20.

The night was a rough one for the Knights. They didn’t reach double digits on the scoreboard until the fourth quarter and made a total of nine points in the first three quarters of the game.

Up until a drastic about-face in the fourth quarter, the Knights scored two, three and four points in the first, second and third quarter, respectively. High pressure from the Bulldogs and missed buckets shackled the Knights throughout the game, but the turnovers fatally dented their armor.

The Bulldogs, on the other hand, were coasting throughout most of the game. By neutralizing the Knights’ star senior point guard Crystal Jones, they were able to maneuver more freely and leave the visitors scrambling to come up with a different plan of attack.

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Paint Branch defeats Kennedy in Walter Hardy Holiday Hoopfest

Walter Hardy Holiday Hoopfest Paint Branch vs. KennedyKennedy Cavaliers' Jalen Lovell (#20) and Paint Branch Panthers' Richard Dudley (#5) dive for a loose ball during the Walter Hardy Holiday Hoopfest Invitational Tournament.               PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH.BURTONSVILLE — The Paint Branch varsity basketball team emerged victorious Thursday over the visiting Kennedy Cavaliers, 79-75, in the final championship game of the Walter Hardy Holiday Hoopfest Invitational Tournament.

It was a fitting ending to a tournament that honored a man who had left an indelible mark on both schools featured in the championship game.

Hardy, a Paint Branch graduate, coached the Panthers for 17 seasons and served as athletic director at Kennedy. He had just begun his tenure as Sherwood’s athletic director when he died suddenly in September.

Current Panthers head coach Chris Bohlen helped organize the tournament as a way to not only honor Hardy but to raise money for the Walter Hardy Scholarship Fund. Bohlen hopes to make the tournament an annual affair.

“[Hardy] has done so much for the community and for Paint Branch,” said Bohlen. “When his family established the scholarship fund, it was a no-brainer to use the proceeds and donations to help benefit that fund.”

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Ryan Lawrence, John Allan Furgeson pace Swarmin’ Hornets with centennial victories

Ryan Lawrence of Damacus scores a 3-1 finals win against Joey Dunn of Sidwell Friends in the 152lb weight class. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKRyan Lawrence of Damacus scores a 3-1 finals win against Joey Dunn of Sidwell Friends in the 152lb weight class. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  With five title winners and 12 wrestlers placing within the top four of their weight classes, the Damascus wrestling team featured victories by State champions Ryan Lawrence (152) and Paul Purkey (195) as well as fellow senior John Allan Furgeson (160) en route to winning the Swarmin' Hornets' own 13-team holiday tournament last week.

Other champions crowned at the end of the two day event – which took place on Dec. 27 and 28 – were freshman Michael Emerick (106) and junior Elijah Baisden (285), with junior Johnny McLaughlin (132) and seniors Josh Creegan (145) and Ben Lokos (182) placing second, sophomores Timothy Furgeson (170) and Aiden Bell (220) finishing third, and freshman Nick Biava (120) and sophomore Vito Vahasdizke (126), fourth.

The event was a dual meet format on Wednesday which yielded results toward seeding Thursday’s bracketed tournament.

Lawrence improved his record to 19-0 on Thursday by earning a 3-1 championship decision over two-time Mid-Atlantic Conference champion Joey Dunn of Sidwell Friends. Lawrence's win over Dunn was the second in two days, with a 3-2 decision during Wednesday's dual meet earning him his 100th career victory. After Thursday, his win count rose to 108.

“This is probably the fourth or fifth time that I’ve wrestled him in the past few years,” said Lawrence, a two-time county and regional title winner who was third at states as a sophomore.

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Clarksburg’s Gonzalez siblings, Nick and Alex, shine on the mats

Clarksburg’s Nick Gonzalez (138) pinned eight of nine opponents at last week’s South River Duals. The Coyote senior’s lone defeat came by 9-5 decision to McDonogh of Baltimore’s Caden Mareno, a runner-up in last year’s Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and private schools state tournaments.

That’s an impressive effort for Gonzalez, a returning county and regional champion who was third at states. But when your freshman brother, Alex (106), goes 9-0 and wins Outstanding Wrestler honors in the same tournament to equal your overall record of 16-1, the experience can be humbling.

“Alex pinned four guys and beat a South Carroll wrestler at 113,” said Nick Gonzalez, who pinned all three opponents at last month’s Boonsboro Tournament, earning Outstanding Lower Weight Wrestler honors where Alex finished second.

“Every year in the past I’ve gone 8-1 in South River’s tournament, and in his first year, he wins it. Having the same record as my younger brother is a little funny. But in the end, he’s probably going to wind up being better than me.”

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Donald “Duck” Davis gives back to Lincoln Park

20171223 Donald Davis 2Donald "Duck" Davis celebrates 25 years of dedicated service to the Lincoln Park community. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKROCKVILLE — For Lincoln Park resident and former Rockville HS basketball player Donald “Duck” Davis, one of the best ways to give back to his community is to focus on the youth.

Davis is best known for his contributions to the Lincoln Park Community Center and especially for the Lincoln Park Athletic Hall of Fame. 

The Hall of Fame is on display at the Community Center and celebrates athletes and other local professionals who grew up in Lincoln Park and achieved success at the college or professional level.

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B-CC girls’ basketball defeats Kennedy for CKA Tournament championship

Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School's Sophia James (#22) shoots over John F. Kennedy High School's Daiyana Ayala (#5) in the CKA SAVE Project 2017 Holiday Tournament Final played at Howard Community College Wednesday December 27, 2017. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHB-CC Barons' Sophia James (#22) shoots over Kennedy Cavaliers' Daiyana Ayala (#5) in the CKA Holiday Tournament. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  COLUMBIA — From the opening tip to the final whistle of CKA SAVE Project 2017 Holiday Tournament championship game on Wednesday at Howard Community College, the Bethesda Chevy-Chase Barons girls’ basketball team dominated the Kennedy Cavaliers, whom they defeated by a score of 67-31.

The game’s result was clear from the beginning of the game, as B-CC began the methodical process of building their lead in the first quarter, with an 11-2 run in the first four minutes of the game. The Lady Barons never looked back as they continued to build their advantage, and by the end of the first quarter, they increased their lead to 20-7.

Kennedy narrowed its deficit to five points during the second quarter when B-CC rested its starters, but Kennedy’s efforts were fruitless as B-CC held a 33-15 lead at the half.

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Ewing, Higazi, Pfeiffer and Ghosh pace Warriors’ wrestlers

Sherwood's Sam Ewing falls Kennedy's Tran Thong in the 132 lb. weight class. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKSherwood's Sam Ewing falls Kennedy's Tran Thong in the 132 lb. weight class.              PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKSherwood junior Sam Ewing epitomizes the Warriors’ general improvement, his midseason record of 14-1 at 132 pounds being a testament to a grueling summer regimen and swiftly encroaching on his finishing mark of 16-17 from last year.

Similarly there is sophomore Adam Pfeiffer (182) cruising at 14-1 after being 32-10 and fourth at counties and regions last year, and junior Yusuf Higazi (170) at 15-0 with 12 pins, on pace to surpass his 32-9 record and fifth place regional finish.

“Making the regionals last year was a big step up for me because freshman year, I only won about five matches,” said Ewing, whose dedication carries into a 3.4 grade average academically.

“This summer, I did three different camps and a lot more offseason work. I started lifting a lot more, and I’ve been more and more dedicated toward wrestling. This is my third year on varsity. I think I have about seven pins but I have a lot more endurance and I’ve gotten better when it comes to riding and wrestling from the top.”

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