Montgomery County basketball swings back into action this evening after a break for second semester finals. While not quite a full slate of games, the schedule is full with nine games tipping off at 7:00 pm for the boys and 5:15 pm for the girls. (NOTE: starting next week game times flip, as girls games will begin at 7:00 pm and boys at 5:15 pm through the remainder of the regular season).
However there are two boy’s games on the docket tonight that merit special attention and preview as they are critical matchups with playoff implications even though it is only January.
Richard Montgomery 10-2 (4-2) at Whitman 9-3 (5-1): This interdivisional 4A West rematch of a thriller back in December is essential for Richard Montgomery. In the first contest, Charlie Waugh’s last second layup (and his 24th and 25th points) won the game for Whitman at RM in overtime. The game marked the Rockets first loss of the season and gives the Vikings a leg up on seeding and home court to this point, and a win by Whitman will all but seal-up the division.
This is a game of fabulous match-ups. In the first game Whitman was without sharpshooter Ross Koehn, who was out with an ankle injury. Koehn comes into this contest fully healed and riding a streak of 6 games with at least 3 3-pointers. RM will have to find Koehn and guard him fiercely out on the perimeter. That responsibility will probably fall to Dominique Hansberry, who is fully capable of the job. On the inside, look for the Rockets Shawn Stephens and the Vikings Waugh to battle one another for the paint. Stephens scored 19 points in the last game, and the Rockets need him both for scoring and on the glass in this one. Finally, Dimitrius Cook for Whitman and Nick Brown for RM is as compelling a guard match-up as you will find. Both are floor generals and game managers for their respective coaches, with both capable of taking over a game when necessary. A critical game at a critical time in the season: nice combination.
Blake 9-1 (5-0) at Quince Orchard 11-2 (5-0): This inter-divisional game is a benchmark game for both teams and is the only scheduled meeting between the teams during the regular season. I stress regular season because I anticipate they will see one another again, perhaps in late February for a regional title game, so the outcome of the game may determine who gets the regional final home game.
This game is a contrast in style and coaching. Blake coach Marcus Wiggins’ squad runs the flex offense to perfection, with balanced scoring the result. Carleton Agwu and All-Met candidate Ryan Frazier are averaging nearly 17 ppg each. Defensively the Bengals press all night with quickness and court coverage their calling card. Quince Orchard is a deliberate offensive team, using motion and cut after cut to find the open man and easy baskets. However, they also thrive on defensive pressure, and with a 10-man rotation, look to wear teams down and score off transition baskets when available. Coach Paul Foringer has as deep a team as you can get. “This is a great way to coach,” he said earlier this week. “We have two five man teams, including five senior on the second team.” Foringer’s philosophy is fairly simple: they are going to press the entire game, try to force teams to play into their style, and not allow them to get into set offenses. As I said, an interesting contrast in styles, and a game I will cover for gamedaymd.com. Look for my story tomorrow morning on gamedaymd.