Behind its stifling defense and gutsy offense, No. 9 Seneca Valley outlasted No. 12 Quince Orchard on Thursday night, 65-60, spoiling the Cougars’ undefeated season.
“Coming into a game like this, going against an undefeated team is a challenge,” said Seneca Valley junior point guard Triston Price (13 points). “Quince Orchard is exceptional, and to come in and get a victory is great. I think it helps us move forward but we’re not going to make too much of it.”
The contest, billed as Montgomery County’s boys’ basketball Game of the Year, certainly lived up to the hype. From the onset, Humphrey and Quince Orchard coach, Paul Foringer, mixed up offensive schemes and defenses as if it were a chess match.
Quince Orchard employed a 1-2-2 zone trapping press, something Seneca Valley (12-1) worked on this week in practice.
“We knew that was going to happen,” Humphrey said??? “We knew they were going to run their 1-2-2 (zone) and trap at some point so we had to prepare for them. We didn’t execute as well as we wanted to but we got the victory”.
On the other end, Quince Orchard stayed composed for most of the game against Seneca Valley’s full court press by staying patient and not allowing the unrelenting pressure get to them.
If either team needed more motivation, a recent Twitter poll revealing the vast majority of people thought Quince Orchard would win did the trick. Unfortunately for Quince Orchard, Seneca Valley saw this pool and took exception.
“We weren’t going to go like that,” senior wing Brandon Simpson said, who finished with a game-high 17 points. “We just came out strong and just fought as a family and got the (win).”
Throughout the game, there wasn’t room for error on either side. For every errant pass, the opposition found a way to capitalize.
In the third quarter alone, Seneca Valley forced six turnovers. Simpson, Trey Lucas, Denard Clyburn and Harold Dotson converted those turnovers into layups. On the final two possessions of the third and the first possession of the fourth, Seneca Valley forced three turnovers and converted them fast break points, including a slam by Denard Clyburn (12 points) which gave the Screamin’ Eagles their largest lead at 51-43.
“I think anytime you get a dunk in that situation, especially in front of this kind of crowd, obviously gets you excited and motivated,” Screamin’ Eagles head coach Brian Humphrey said. “You just feed off that energy, but they were just doing what we told them to do. We used that momentum and carried it through to the end of the game.”
After the Clyburn slam and a quick timeout by Foringer, Quince Orchard went on their own momentum-swinging run.
Fueled by Matt Kelly, Jack Faroane and a string of stops, the Cougars scratched and clawed its way back and pulled within three after a 3-pointer by Faroane.
Quince Orchard got to within one on a Faroane layup, and that was the closest they got.
Faroane also attempted the potential ahead jumper, but it clanked off the rim.
Kareem Matthew hit two game-clinching free throws after hauling in the rebound and getting fouled off the Faroane miss.
“I think it helps with us moving forward,” Humphrey said of the win. “We’re not going make
Kelly and John Fierstein paced Quince Orchard (13-1) with 14 points apiece.
Up next for Quince Orchard are games against Watkins Mill, Damascus, and Gaithersburg.
On the other end, Seneca Valley plays against Gaithersburg, Clarksburg, and Northwest