Potomac ~ Despite holding such a commanding lead from the second quarter on, Paint Branch head coach Chris Bohlen still used every moment down to the last second as a teachable moment for his young Panthers squad. Knowing just what to say to each player and then giving them a love tap on the head at the end of every piece or coaching moment.
“Each team is a chemistry experiment every year,” Coach Bohlen said, “So it’s always fun a as a coach every year to try and find out what buttons to push, and who needs what.
Paint Branch held on for a 80-64 victory over Churchill. The win helps the Panthers move on to a 9-2 record, while the Bulldogs are now 6-3. Paint Branch relied on their multitude of scorers, placing five players in double-figures. They were led by Richard Dudley and Myles Mosley who each scored 14-points, Marley Sume contributing 12-points, rounded out by Anthony Wright and Juan Bell scoring 11-points as well. The Bulldogs were led by David Orta and his 26- points performance, followed by Jomo Goings’ 12-points.
A decisive second quarter run gave Paint Branch a lead that would grow as large as 24-points in the second half. The Panthers went on a tear offensively, outgunning the Bulldogs on an 18-0 run that was punctuated by a Dudley up-and-under layup off a ally-oop feed from Juan Bell. Churchill was able to stop the bleeding when Nadav Stern nailed a free-throw line jumper, but the damage done was extensive enough with the Panthers leading 47-23 at the end of the half after a Mishi Etauful layup to beat the buzzer that sent his teammates into a frenzy.
“It turns your team up (with) plays like that,” Dudley said, “Just threes, steals, and we try to continue that.”
Before the second half began, Bohlen implored his boys to enjoy the game and express themselves more on the court with their big-lead. It may have led to his Panthers squad taking their feet off the pedal instead. It led to Churchill giving their adversaries a lesson and a scare. The Bulldogs gradually whittled the lead down and cut the deficit to as close as 11-points after a Orta 3-pointer made it 71-60 midway in the final frame. Coach Bohlen decoded not to call a timeout, and let Dudley close the game out on his terms. The senior guard had a hand in scoring or assisting on seven of final nine Panther points being scored. He dished a pair of dimes, first to Mosley for a corner 3-ball, then Etauful for a nifty layup, and finally sunk a layup to finished off the game at 80-68.
“We played (well) as a team,” Dudley said, “We just have to tie something’s up on the defensive end.”