OXON HILL – Three players scored in double-figures as the Potomac boys’ basketball team thrashed Great Mills, 85-56, in the first round of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association playoffs. The No. 4 seed Wolverines, who finished the regular season with a 13-6 record, will now take on last year’s 3A South Region champions […]
OXON HILL – Three players scored in double-figures as the Potomac boys’ basketball team thrashed Great Mills, 85-56, in the first round of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association playoffs.
The No. 4 seed Wolverines, who finished the regular season with a 13-6 record, will now take on last year’s 3A South Region champions and No. 1 seed, Huntingtown, in the regional quarterfinals on Tuesday.
After allowing Great Mills (12-10) to score the opening three points, Potomac got on a hot streak, scoring the next 15, including two three-pointers.
The Wolverines then exploded on a 10-0 run midway through the second quarter. Junior point guard Jason Newman, who averages 8.9 points-per-game on the season, went on a tear with a team-high 17 points with six coming on the final run before halftime.
“We usually have on-and-off days, but today, everyone showed up,” Newman said. “Throughout the season, we had our ups and downs, players missing but we learned to stay strong as a team.”
Potomac Head Coach Irvin Hay credited the scoring streaks to the team’s full-court press, which suffocates their opponent and creates quick turnovers for easy points. In the final four minutes of the second quarter, the Wolverines forced turnovers with four steals that helped extend their lead to 19 by halftime.
Early in the third quarter, Newman looked to score a quick layup after receiving a long-range pass in transition from teammate forward Christian Dyches. However, while in mid-flight, Great Mills point guard Tyler Young ran into Newman and caused the 5-foot-10 junior to fall on his side.
The layup still went in, and after hitting the ground, Newman quickly popped up and chest-pumped his teammates.
“We were focusing more on playing together as a team, and he comes off the bench and does a terrific job,” Hay said of Newman.
Senior Travis Henson, who leads the team in scoring (averaging 16.8 points per game during the regular season), struggled to score throughout the first three quarters of the match. Besides one three-pointer in the second quarter, Henson was held scoreless until the fourth quarter. With the Hornets going on a 6-0 run early in the fourth, Hay called a timeout and talked to his star forward.
“He is a terrific, terrific talent,” Hay said. “I think sometimes you have to put a fire in him. (Great Mills) came out and scored six points and we had to call timeout. A little fire was put into him, and he came to life.”
Moments later, Henson finished off an alley-oop attempt on a lob pass from fellow senior Gary Robertson, shifting the momentum back to Potomac. The senior would score 10 straight points, including a dunk and two 3-pointers, to kill off any notion of a comeback. Henson finished the game with 15 points thanks to his fourth quarter burst.
“We went into the timeout, and Coach just said put the pressure on them because they are about to quit so keep stepping on their neck,” Henson said. “Once they threw the alley-oop, we got all the energy in the building and brought the momentum back on our side.”
With all the praise for its high-scoring performance, Potomac faltered defensively at the end of the game, getting outscored 17-9 in the final four minutes. The Wolverines know Huntingtown will hurt them if they play lackluster defense in their matchup in the regional quarterfinals.
“We overcommit too much. We go for the steals too much,” Newman said. “We gamble too much, and that is what is killing us. That is how they started scoring points at the end.”
“Trying to go for steals can be a detriment when you are playing against a good team, and most of the time, they make you pay for it,” Hay said. “It should be less frequent and one of the things that we will focus on practice for the next couple of days before we go to Huntingtown.”