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Wheaton girls neutralize Blake in basketball 50-41

Wheatons Crystal Jones 13 drives the lane past Blakes Alexandra Konzmann 11. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHWheaton's Crystal Jones (13) drives the lane past Blake's Alexandra Konzmann (11).    PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  SILVER SPRING — The Wheaton Knights held down the Blake Bengals in girls’ basketball to finish 50-41.

It was neck and neck throughout the entire game, as both teams had trouble putting points on the board. The Bengals had open shots in abundance but missed enough of them to impact their game.

“Shots are like rain, sometimes it drips, sometimes it pours, and we’re going to start having some things pour,” said Blake head coach Christopher Towle.

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Springbrook does just enough late in the game to defeat Whitman

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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Swarmin’ Hornets have nine, Landon, six state-ranked wrestlers to start the season

MSWA 400x400Top-rated state champion senior Ryan Lawrence (152) is among nine Damascus wrestlers ranked by coordinator Billy Buckheit of the Maryland State Wrestling Association to commence the 2017-2018 season.

Ranked at No. 2 is University of Maryland-bound state champion senior Paul Purkey (195) for the Swarmin’ Hornets, winners of six straight Class 4-3A state tournaments, five consecutive 4A-3A state dual meet titles, and both 139 matches and 15 county tournaments in a row.

Landon leads the private schools with six wrestlers rated among the top 20 in their divisions in No. 4 sophomore Lorenzo Lopez (126), No. 5 senior Brendon Gallagher (152), No. 7 junior Axel Giron (120), No. 10 junior Jelani Machen (170), No. 16 senior Terrance Bridgers (285) and No. 17 senior Carter Johnson (220).

For the Swarmin’ Hornets, Lawrence is a two-time county and regional champion who was third at states as a sophomore, and Purkey, a county and regional champ who earned a private schools state title as a Good Counsel sophomore.

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Whitman girls basketball team steamrolls Kennedy

Whitman Lady Vikings vs. Kennedy Cavaliers 12 18 17Whitman's Elyse Lowet leaves the Kennedy guard on the floor.                       PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFESILVER SPRING — Before the Whitman varsity girls basketball team returns to the court after a timeout, the players huddle together in a circle and shout just one word – a promise to rely on each other, to focus on the power of teamwork and chemistry. 

“Together!”

The Lady Vikings kept that promise to each other on Monday when they traveled to Kennedy High School and dismantled the winless Cavaliers, 75-30.

Three Vikings finished with double-digit points, a feat that appeared within reach in the first quarter when Whitman registered seven three-pointers. Three of the buckets came courtesy of senior guard Brooke Gumataotao, who led all scorers with 16 points.

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Bulldogs crown seven champs, dominate third straight Rocket Launch Duals

Rocket Launch Duals 1Richard Montgomery's Laura Chang takes Churchill's Luke Calhoun to extra time before earning the win with this takedown. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  ROCKVILLE — Senior county and regional champions Jack Connolly (138) and Andrew Welch (195) were among Churchill’s seven title winners as the Bulldogs dominated last weekend’s Rocket Launch Duals at Richard Montgomery for the third straight year.

Connolly, Welch and the Bulldogs went 10-0 on the weekend, with seniors Chris Ervin (120), Elijah Zack (152) and Fio Tranquill (182) and juniors Anthony Slaughter (113) and Alec Velikanov (285) all going undefeated.

The Bulldogs also won the marquee matchup, 54-21, over Sherwood, overcoming a 21-18 deficit by sweeping the final six bouts.

“We ran the table to win, but Sherwood is pretty tough,” said Connolly. “I really feel like our team is performing a step above everyone else right now.”

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Gaithersburg Trojans vanquish B-CC Barons, 76-57

Jao3 EditJao Ituka makes a break down the floor after stealing the ball from B-CC's Miles English resulting in a dunk for two points by Ituka. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  GAITHERSBURG — Standout freshmen Jao Ituka and Jordan Hawkins combined for 41 points Friday night to lead the Gaithersburg Trojans to a 76-57 home victory over Bethesda-Chevy Chase.

Ituka, Gaithersburg’s leading scorer, finished with a season-high 24 points and Hawkins added 17 points, a season high for him as well.

Meanwhile, Kevin Neal, a talented senior guard, finished with 16 points to help lift the Trojans to a 4-0 record with wins over Wheaton, Rockville and Northwood in addition to B-CC.

“Kevin is the most under-looked senior in the county in my opinion,” said Gaithersburg head coach Jeff Holda. “He’s ridiculously talented.”

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G-Town youth basketball team defeats Rockville Junior Victors, 23-21

Rockville Junior Victors vs. G Town youth b ball 1 12 17 17G-Town's Malik Simmons (#5) takes it to the hoop. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  GAITHERSBURG — The Rockville Junior Victors participated in an exhibition game against Germantown’s G-Town youth basketball team Sunday at Gaithersburg High School.

This game was the very first one for the newly-created Junior Victors squad. The players on G-Town, however, have been playing together for a couple of years and their experience showed when they overcame a second-half seven-point deficit to beat Rockville, 23-21.

The two teams were comprised of local fourth and fifth grade students, many of them fans of the adult Rockville Victors. DJ Jaybo from Kensington provided music and sound effects before, after and during the game.

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Northwest girls basketball team keeps Magruder winless

Northwest Jaguars vs. Magruder ColonelsROCKVILLE — Basketball season may have just begun, but don’t tell that to the Magruder and Northwest girls varsity teams. The two squads clashed Tuesday in a hard-fought seesaw game that saw the visiting Northwest Jaguars pull away at the last minute and hand the Magruder Colonels their third loss, 53-49.

Both teams appeared evenly matched from the very first whistle and neither the Colonels nor the Jaguars trailed by more than four points during the course of the game. Magruder’s Laila Grant and Northwest’s Khienya Benjamin, both senior guards, traded highlight reel plays and finished as the highest scoring player on their respective teams. Grant registered 27 points and Benjamin wasn’t far behind with 20 points of her own.

Even though Northwest missed several big buckets that could have helped them pull away from Magruder, the Jaguars made up for their errors by stealing turnovers and grabbing rebounds.

Benjamin, however, wasn’t worried about the Colonels coming away with the victory.

“I have confidence in myself and I have confidence in my team and I know that we want to win,” she said. “I heard about [Grant] and she is a great player but we matched their intensity.”

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Churchill boys basketball team beats Watkins Mill on the road

CN9A3276aChurchill senior Martin Geenan (44) takes it to the basket after a fast break as Watkins Mill senior Markel Grant (1) tries to defend. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  MONTGOMERY VILLAGE — Former Good Counsel assistant David Blumenthal picked up his first victory as head coach of the Churchill Bulldogs varsity boys basketball team Monday in the Bulldogs’ 56-26 road win over the Watkins Mill Wolverines.

“Anytime you can get a road win it’s huge,” said Blumenthal.

Churchill senior Jake Ruben scored a game-high 13 points as the Bulldogs improved to 1-1.

“Ruben is definitely a guy that we look to off the bench as a huge spark,” said Blumenthal. “He comes in, he’s full of energy, he’s all over the court and the kid can shoot so he comes in and he gets space and he hits that three, it seems to get everybody up. They start to steamroll once he hits one or two so he stepped up big.”

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Landon wrestler edges friend and Magruder wrestling foe, ties series at 3-3

Cramma vs. Giron at Mad Mats TournamentMagruder's C.J. Cramma faces off once more against friend and wrestling rival Landon's Axel Giron, who was the victor in the match at the Mad Mats Tournament at Magruder High School. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  DERWOOD — As C.J. Cramma pursues this year’s 120-pound 4A-3A state title after having placed third at states last season, Landon junior Axel Giron will be among the Magruder senior’s greatest supporters.

That’s due, in part, to Giron scoring a double-leg takedown of Cramma in the final seconds to secure a 5-4 victory in Saturday’s finals of Mad Mats Tournament at Magruder, a feat which evened his series mark to three wins each against Cramma, whom he won't have to wrestle for the remainder of their high school season.

“Second period, I got the first point for a 1-0 lead, then it was 2-1 after he took me down. I escaped to make it 2-2,” said Giron, a triple-overtime winner of their summer meeting at a Landon wrestling camp.

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