Coming out of the winter break, Montgomery County basketball teams faced a difficult two-week stretch of games due to scheduling which included make-up games from December’s snowstorm. With teams playing up to three games during the week of January 4th, including, in some cases, back-to-back games on consecutive evenings, the league and division standings could be radically altered.
The good news during this difficult stretch is the possibility of a team finding themselves, getting some big wins under their belts, and starting to make a move as this weeks action gets ready to tip off this evening. Indeed, this week’s schedule is just as formidable, with a full slate of games set for tonight (Monday, January 11), Wednesday (January 13), and Friday (January 15).
A look back at last week’s action will set the stage for this week and inform the Bastow Best-Ten teams. The best way to view the results is to look at who helped themselves, who fell back, and who needs some big results this week to get back on track.
Those Who Helped Themselves: Four teams went through last week’s play undefeated at 3-0: Kennedy, Blake, Whitman and Poolesville. In Kennedy’s case, Nelson Diallo and company defeated two division rivals in Wheaton and Northwood, and 4A Paint Branch to fun their record to 6-3. Blake continued to dominate with easy wins over Einstein, Damascus and Wheaton, running their record to 6-1. Whitman enjoyed a tremendous week, defeating three division rivals to remain undefeated in 4A West play, and Poolesville similarly enjoyed division success by defeating Clarksburg and Damascus in addition to Rockville.
Springbrook and Quince Orchard rang up 2-0 records during the week. Shaking off their one and only loss, Springbrook beat Magruder and Blair in 4A East division play, while Quince Orchard defeated division rivals Seneca Valley and Clarksburg.
Those Who Remained Steady: Magruder, Richard Montgomery and Gaithersburg each got through the week at 2-1. For RM, the results were mixed: their loss to Wootton will sting for quite some time as it is a division loss, however in beating a slumping Northwest the next evening, they managed to stay in the division race. Magruder and Gaithersburg swapped wins and losses, but Magruder’s win over Gaithersburg gives them a leg up in the division. On the strength of their efforts they will both make the BBT.
Those Who Lost Ground: A previously streaking Northwest lost twice last week to RM and Paint Branch, and their momentum is stalled. In between those two losses was a buzzer-beater win against Churchill, so the Jaguars will need to pick themselves up starting this evening with a really big game against Whitman. Clarksburg similarly endured a difficult week, losing badly to both Poolesville and Quince Orchard. They will need a big week starting tonight against Watkins Mill.
With last week in the rear view mirror, here is the Bastow Best-Ten update (last week’s ranking is parenthesis).
- Springbrook (1): The Blue Devils are atop the 4A East standings, and fully recovered from their only loss of the season. Until a Montgomery County team beats them, they are still my number one team. Next Game: Home vs Gaithersburg
- Blake (2): A perfect 2-0 last week, and undefeated in 3A/2A East play. If they can get past Rockville and Northwood, a showdown with Kennedy looms at the end of the week. Next Game: Home vs Rockville
- Whitman (3): Suddenly the Vikings are getting scoring from everywhere, including senior Ross Koehn, who averaged 17 ppg over a three game stretch. A big test of their momentum and play looms tonight. Next Game: At Northwest.
- Richard Montgomery (4): Despite an up and down week (big loss to Wootton, big win against Northwest), the Rockets remain a solid team with tremendous upside. Nick Brown is the steadying force, but it’s Dominique Hansberry who is the difference maker night in and night out. Next Game: At B-CC
- Quince Orchard (5): Coach Paul Foringer’s team just keeps rolling along under the radar. They typically put 10 players on the scorebook, with balance all along the way. And their defense shows up every night. They will be tested tonight. Next Game: At Poolesville
- Northwest (6): A difficult week that was, highlighted by a buzzer-beater loss against Paint Branch, buzzer-beater win against Churchill, and a flat effort against RM. Willy Lee needs more help from his teammates and Coach Jesse Irvin needs to regroup his team. Tonight would be a good time to start. Next Game: Home vs Whitman
- Poolesville (9): Welcome to the BBT! A solid three-win week gets the Falcons to 2-0 in their division. Brendan McFall and Kevin Baker averaged 14 and 10 ppg during the week, and are as good a tandem as you will find in the county. The evening in Poolesville should be a great one: go see it if you can. Next Game: Home vs Quince Orchard.
- Kennedy (NR): Coach Nelson Diallo has one great scorer in Angelo Adon (28 ppg) and a roster of steady players who play great defense. A huge win against Paint Branch vaults them into the BBT, and if they can navigate the early part of the week, their game at Blake on Friday could be for first place in the division. Next Game: At Einstein
- Magruder (NR): Losing to Springbrook by 7 points is no shame, and rebounding to beat both Gaithersburg and Einstein puts the Colonels in good shape heading into an important week that includes two home games. Oh, and Timmy Harwood is really, really good. Next Game: Home vs Paint Branch.
- Gaithersburg (NR): My number ten-ranked team is typically a wild card and this is the case again. The Trojans have the ability to beat anyone, and feature a great scorer in Horiol Poggy , and a rising star in Malcolm Miller, either of whom can carry the team on their back. But they have to be more consistent. Right out of the gate this week they have a chance to make a statement. Let’s see what happens. Next Game: At Springbrook
Tomorrow: Monday night review and standings update