Madness came early to Montgomery County high school boys basketball. Wednesday’s slate of county matchups was filled with upsets that show just how inconsistent this season has been.
There was the Northwood High School team that took nearly a month to win its first game but, in a span of eight days, upended a sturdy Rockville team, blew out Seneca Valley by 33, and then, on Wednesday, beat then-fifth ranked Poolesville.
The start to the season “was just bad coaching,” Northwood coach Anthony Dickens said. “That’s all that was. It’s really no secret that if you outwork a team, you’re going to win. You got to work and just don’t give up on a season.”
The Gladiators vindicated that win by upending Watkins Mill two days later.
Then Clarksburg dove headfirst into the mix. It took less than two weeks for the Coyotes to disrupt what was ostensibly the only division, the 4A West, with any kind of clear pecking order. Col. Zadok Magruder was supposed to be the runaway favorite with Quince Orchard serving as the up-and-coming contender. Well, the Coyotes edged the Cougars by two on Jan. 18 and then, on Wednesday, supplanted the then-No. 2 Colonels (who had very nearly beaten out Montrose Christian for the No. 1 spot).
And how about Montrose Christian? For a while there, Kevin Durant’s alma mater had that close-but-no-cigar thing going on. It had suffered consecutive losses to Oak Hill and Findlay Prep — which is still undefeated — back in December and, two games later, dropped another to Theodore Roosevelt, also still undefeated. But the top-ranked Mustangs used all three overtimes — the first-ever triple-overtime game in coach Stu Vetter’s 14-year stint with Montrose — in Wednesday’s clash with Oak Hill to take down Carmelo Anthony’s old haunt, 54-53.
“It was a tremendous, tremendous win for Montrose basketball,” Vetter said. “You don’t have too many true national rivalries but I think this has grown into a national rivalry.”
In the past four games alone between the two storied programs there have been seven overtimes.
While on the topic of overtimes, it’s also relevant to note that Walter Johnson extended a rematch with then-No. 7 Winston Churchill for an extra four minutes on a Michael Lumbuku 3-pointer at the buzzer. The Bulldogs eventually went on to win by four, but the overarching theme of the day was still prevalent: no wins are guaranteed.
There is no division that recognizes that on a more regular basis than the 4A East. Just when things seemed to be somewhat settled down, with Sherwood and Paint Branch taking the reigns, a struggling James H. Blake squad threw it all out of order again, upending the Warriors 74-49 on Wednesday.
Finally, wrapping up Wednesday’s madness were Albert Einstein, which was 2-8 in its last 10 games, and its bout with Wheaton, and Richard Montgomery’s matchup with Walt Whitman. Abe Camara scored 18 points and hauled in 11 boards to bolster the Titans to its first victory over a team with more than three wins and Justin Senou scored 30 in the Rockets’ mild upset over the Vikings.
“Anything can happen,” Dickens said. “[Wednesday] was probably upset alert but anything can happen. It’s wide open.”
In other news, Churchill’s Dominique Williams broke the school’s steal record in last Monday’s win over Bethesda-Chevy Chase. He topped Thomas Geenen’s mark of 127 which was set in 2012, who had previously broken Georgetown’s Eric Smith’s record. The three-year varsity player will have three more regular season games and playoffs to cement his record further into the books.
Paint Branch at Magruder, 7 p.m. Tuesday
The best of the 4A West will match up with the best of the 4A East