It wasn’t a playoff game, but #9 South County’s 61-59 home overtime win over #6 West Potomac sure felt like one. And while the teams weren’t exactly firing on all cylinders, both squads certainly demonstrated a remarkable amount of resilience Friday night and did nothing to dispel the notion they’re among the region’s best.
On the South County side the win was a testament to the Stallions’ perseverance. Already up seven at halftime, West Potomac star guard Daryl Mackey, Jr. came out and buried two three-pointers to open the second half, putting South County in a 13-point hole.
The Stallions did anything but quit against the undefeated Wolverines. They upped the defensive intensity and slowly clawed back, trailing only by seven after three quarters. Then in the fourth they really went on a run, aided by an injury to Mackey that left him hobbled.
The first five minutes of the fourth quarter SoCo outscored West Potomac 13-3, producing steal after steal with both full-court and half-court traps. The Stallions took their first lead of the game off a steal and Andre Speight lay-up to make it 50-49, then went up 53-50 a few minutes later when Speight drained a three.
Late in regulation the Stallions continued to hold the lead at 58-55 but were unable to contain West Potomac Ethan Payne from doing this:
Ethan Payne's three to tie the game for West Potomac late last night. Crazy game. pic.twitter.com/D68XTjNASh
— Novahoops.com (@novahoopsCom) December 15, 2018
South County got a good look at the rim shortly after but couldn’t convert, sending the game to overtime. There South County’s defense clamped down again, limiting West Potomac to a single point in the extra stanza. Still, the outcome was very much in doubt late. William Wilson hit a first free throw to put the Stallions up 61-59 with just a couple seconds left but while purposely trying to miss the second one failed to hit the rim, resulting in a violation.
The Stallions’ defense held in the end despite that miscue–despite several miscues and some poor free throw shooting, actually. Coach Mike Robinson was happy to get the big win, but not exactly enamored with his team’s overall performance.
“We are not a disciplined team,” he told us after the game. “We need to develop better practice habits. We think with our talent everything will be easy and it isn’t. I’m proud we won–a win is a win–but we have to do better.”
Nevertheless, his team showed solid grit and considerable defensive prowess to claw its way back into the game and get the victory. West Potomac showed grit as well. They were without starting forward Shannon Harrigan for the contest and were without Mackey for much of the overtime and fourth quarter. Still, they gave the defending state champs all they could handle–on the road, too.
Mackey was sensational before his injury, leading West Potomac (5-1) with 20 points. Big man Jonas Munson added 15 points and seven boards, while Jack Fricka added eight points and 10 rebounds. Payne finished with nine points on three key three-pointers.
Speight was huge for South County (4-2), leading the Stallions with 17 key points off the bench. Wilson added 12 points and eight boards, and Donovan Myles had a huge game. He had ten points but also energized his team with his defense, limiting Mackey fairly well and producing numerous steals.
This was the game we would have expected between two state contenders. Just a look at the box score below shows you how even things were. West Potomac was 20-50 from the field, South County was 20-51. West Potomac had 31 boards, South County had 30 boards. West Potomac had one more assist than South County as well.
But on this night all that really mattered is the Stallions had two more points than the Wolverines.
all stats are unofficial
|Threes: Payne 3-9, Mackey 2-4, Hernandez 0-2, Fricka 0-1, Abdi 0-1|
|Threes: Speight 3-5, Kellem 1-4, Wilson 0-3, X.Myles 0-2, Bullock 0-1, D.Myles 0-1|