- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Open up the fourth quarter of a basketball game on a 15-0 run and odds are that your team wins the game.
Such was the case for the Chopticon Braves girls basketball team when it took a 27-19 lead to end the third quarter of a Friday night contest with the visiting Leonardtown Raiders and turned it into a 42-19 lead with 2 minutes and 40 seconds remaining in the game.
That stretch led directly to the eventual 44-25 victory in the season finale for both teams, and it was a special win for the four Braves seniors recognized on senior night.
Katie Thompson led the group of four seniors with seven points on the night, and senior teammate Jessica Belfield added six.
“Against Leonardtown, it feels amazing,” Belfield said of the win. “They are a county rival, and it was a lot more special because it was on senior night.”
Senior Mary Beth Pappas added two points, and senior Courtney Buckler was also recognized.
“It was just great,” Pappas said. “I had a senior night with volleyball, too [in the fall], but this one was just over the top. The fans were going crazy, and what the team did was really special with signing the [basket]balls and everything.”
Belfield called her junior teammate Shyanne Gross “amazing” after Gross put on a sharp-shooting display that amounted to three three-point makes and a game-high 15 points.
“They wanted it more than anything,” Gross said of the seniors. “The seniors wanted to come out and end their season with a win.”
The Braves, who finished the season 16-6 overall and 8-4 in SMAC play, earned a No. 2 seed in the Class 3A South Region playoffs and will host seventh-seeded Huntingtown in a quarterfinal contest Monday.
“At the beginning of the year, there were talks that we weren’t going to go far,” Pappas said, “and I think we have completely exceeded everyone’s expectations of us. I couldn’t be happier. ... I feel we are going to go strong into the playoffs, and we’re all excited.”
Leonardtown (9-12, 6-6 SMAC) picked up the sixth seed in the 4A East Region and will host 11th-seeded Great Mills in an opening-round contest Friday. Raiders head coach Christine Doerrer said she is ready to enter the playoffs after dropping the regular season finale.
“We played really well on Wednesday [a 61-39 win over McDonough], and tonight, this was kind of a letdown for us,” she said. “I was hoping to play better and get a win, but it didn’t happen. We’re going to regroup and hopefully after practices, we can get back at it and hopefully get a win in our first [playoff] game on Friday.”
Raiders boys beat Braves
The Raiders boys basketball team defeated the Braves in the first game of the Friday night doubleheader, 72-31, to end its regular season.
Using a smothering full-court defense, the Raiders were able to turn steals and turnovers into quick transition points, including a game-high 25 points from Damien King and 19 from Mike Day.
“We just wanted to win,” Day said. “This is the last game of the [regular] season, and we needed momentum going into the playoffs. Our defense in the last couple of games has been a little sketchy. We wanted to come out and make a statement on defense because that’s what we pride ourselves on.
“We wanted to come out here, make it hectic for them and get easy buckets.”
The Raiders closed the second quarter on a 9-0 run and opened the third on a 15-1 run to take a 43-21 lead and full grasp on the game.
“We wanted to put some pressure on them and get some steals,” King said. “It was our last game [of the regular season], so we just wanted to come out and get the win and end the season pretty good.”
Leonardtown head coach David Holland added, “We’ve had that 2-2-1 in there for most of the season, but with just changing lineups, I haven’t been able to use it as much as I’d like to use it. Tonight, we decided to go ahead and put it in there before the playoffs.”
Leonardtown (7-13, 4-8) picked up a No. 10 seed in the 4A East playoffs and will visit seventh-seeded Chesapeake of Anne Arundel County in a first-round contest Friday.
Nick Jerome and Marty Tolson, both seniors, led the Braves with six points each in the loss.
Chopticon (2-20, 2-10) picked up a sixth seed in the 3A South Region and will be off until next Thursday when it will be at third-seeded Westlake for a quarterfinal contest.