By: Brooks Warren
BRANDYWINE – The offensive rebound had been available all night for Potomac High School. So when combo guard Carlos Dyches drew the attention of all five Gwynn Park defenders in the paint, junior forward Kevin Dozier had the easy job of gathering the missed Dyches floater and layed it up for a buzzer-beating win
“I just can’t get over that game winner,” Dozier said smiling, “I was just thinking how if he misses I got to go back with it.”
Potomac High School(Maryland) sunk Gwynn Park High School late 66-64, to finish the sweep of their county rival Thursday evening. Potomac was led by junior Carlos Dyches 24 point and 14 double-double, Sincere Jones added 11 points, and Jaquan Riddick rounded it out with 10 points. Senior combo guard Jalen Hayes contributed 17 points and Darious Boyd followed up with 13 points of his own.
“We got comfortable, kinda slacked off,” Dyches said, “Good thing we picked it up and started playing as a team again.”
After losing 69-49, the first time they met, Gwynn Park was ready to gain some revenge and gain a key win over their rival. The Yellow Jacket have forged an identity this season a squad that will never stop fighting. That stubbornness was evident tonight, never giving the Wolverines a chance to relax. Despite being down most of the evening, the Yellow Jackets fought back from deficits as big as eight and tied the game twice, and led the game late twice.
“I was telling them stay composed and kept with the mission,” Johnson said, “We are normally a second half team that we kinda put guys away at the end but today (Gwynn Park). just wouldn’t go away and that is a testament to their culture.”
The sheer size in difference was a major factor in the game, Potomac controlled the boards and grabbed multiple offensive rebound for got up second chance points. The Wolverines held control of the contest largely due to a stifling 2-3 defense designed to help slow down Hayes. The difference in length and athleticism not only helped to force difficult shots, but it also keyed advantageous transition plays. Twice off of defensive rebounds, Dyches leaked out in the open court and punched electric dunks off outlet passes from Elijah Crawford midway through the second that nearly changed the complexion of the game and sent the crowd into a frenzy. The first rim-grazer set off a 7 point run that led to a 31-25 lead. A Riddick outlet pass for another Dyches slam in the third led to another 7-0 run that made it 48-43 lags in the third frame. The end of the third featured more theatrics when Boyd’s desperation 3-pointer as the buzzer went down. The officials didn’t take long to say the shot counted, much to the chagrin to Potomac head coach Renard Johnson.
In the fourth quarter was when the Yellow Jackets took control. Senior Camren Bullock played a major roll with his hard-nosed defense and late shot-making. Bullock scored seven points and got into passing lanes for steals three separate times. He second steal of the game led to the first Gwynn Park lead of the game at 60-58. Dyches responded with a individual 5-0 run when converted and-1 finish and an point blank tip in bucket to give the Wolverines a 64-59 late. On the ensuing Potomac posession, Bullock collected back-to-back steals and fed Hayes in transition where he sunk two pairs of free throws to tie the game at 64-all. The Yellow Jackets nearly stole a win when Hayes stripped the ball from Dyches with 20 seconds left. Unfortunately Jayden Wingard missed both of his double-bonus free throws and gave Potomac the chance to win at the buzzer.
“If every game ends like that I will take it, ” Gwynn Park Head Coach Rob Garner said, “ You hate to be on the side on the losing end. They was killing us on the offensive rebounds so it’s not ironic that that is how we lost. ”