Ashburn, Va. — Trailing 30-25, heading into the locker room, the Stone Bridge High School boys basketball team knew they needed to make some adjustments in the second half. The Bulldogs extended their defensive perimeter and got an offensive spark off the bench in the third quarter to create some cushion against Woodgrove.
The Wolverines, however, stormed back in the fourth and gave themselves a chance as junior guard Joey Marcheschi got off a good look as time expired, but his shot kicked off the rim as the Bulldogs opened their Potomac District schedule with a 64-62 win over the Wolverines on January 13 in Ashburn.
“We had good energy all around, we executed, and we were really happy to get that win,” Stone Bridge sophomore forward Omar Abushaban said. “Our first district win, so it was a great way to start things off.”[adrotate banner=”53″]
From the start, Stone Bridge’s offensive game plan was clear: get the ball inside to Abushaban. The Bulldogs were quick to execute that game plan as Abushaban scored on three of Stone Bridge’s first six offensive possessions to get his team out to a 9-3 lead.
“We focused on getting the ball inside,” Abushaban said. “My teammates were really looking for me, so that obviously helped out a lot.”
Even as the Bulldogs started to find some early momentum, the Wolverines were quick with an answer as junior guard Steve Richards knocked down a pair of first quarter threes to keep Woodgrove within striking distance.
Trailing 15-11 heading into the second quarter, Woodgrove took its first lead of the night early in the frame when sophomore guard Kenny Chicas hit a three to make the score 16-15.
On the very next possession, junior guard Jack Hill got in on the action as he buried his first three of the night to extend the lead to 19-15. Two possessions later, Hill again caught a pass on the perimeter and hit another three to extend the Wolverines’ lead to 5 before Woodgrove eventually headed into the break, leading 30-25.
Allowing seven 3-pointers in the first half alone, the Bulldogs recognized the defensive adjustment they needed to make and extended their perimeter defense to extend against the three.
“They hit a lot of threes, so we’re going to have to fix that,” Stone Bridge head coach Kent Kling said. “We changed the defense and started to pull out a little bit, but then we started getting backdoored, too, so we fell back in a little bit.”
With their extended defense working, Stone Bridge turned their focus to the offensive end where they continued to get the ball inside to Abushaban, who finished with a game-high 21 points and team-high 7 rebounds. In the third, junior forward Jackson Mazur also knocked down the Bulldogs’ first three of the game, before junior shooting guard Will Layton provided a much needed spark off the bench, knocking down 3-pointers on back-to-back trips to re-extend the Stone Bridge lead to 46-37.
Then, just before the third quarter ended, Layton finished at the rim and knocked down his and-one free throw as Stone Bride turned a 5-point halftime deficit into a double-digit lead heading into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, Woodgrove once again made a run, using a combination of backdoor cuts and more excellent three-point shooting as the Wolverines eventually cut the lead to 63-59 with less than 20 seconds to play. Out of a timeout, junior guard Colin Fuller hit an off-balance three to cut the Stone Bridge lead to just one.
The Bulldogs hit the back half of the double bonus free throws, giving Woodgrove 4.1 seconds left down just 2. Following a Stone Bridge timeout, Woodgrove found Marcheschi who got off a good look for the game-winner, but his shot rang off the rim as the Wolverines’ run came up just short, 64-62.
Stone Bridge (1-0, 9-3) will look to add to its win streak when the Bulldogs travel to Independence on January 17. Meanwhile, Woodgrove (0-1, 3-8) will look to earn its first district win when the Wolverines host Briar Woods on the same night.
“It’s good to get a district win. I think all the district games are going to be like this,” Kling said. “It’s going to be a tough district where anybody can beat anybody on any given night.”
Stone Bridge Stats
|CJ Schaeffer Jr.||3||1||0||0||0||1-for-2|