South Lakes' Brian Kennedy (18 points) was strong in the fourth quarter to help his team stave off Potomac. (Photo Nova Sports Media Team, David Gaylor)

South Lakes staves off Potomac 74-69, sets up rematch with Hayfield

When South Lakes’ senior point guard Brian Kennedy is “on,” he’s the perfect complement to Seahawks’ all-everything wing player Jordan Scott.

Kennedy was certainly on for most of the night on Tuesday, helping to lead No. 5 South Lakes past No. 7 Potomac, 74-69, in a Class 6 state quarterfinal before an overflow crowd in Reston.

Kennedy was part of a few stupefying plays, including a rare four-point conversion in the fourth quarter that helped the Seahawks stave off the repeated rallies of the determined, full-throttle Panthers.

Kennedy finished with 18 points to go with Scott’s 22 points (and repeated, crucial blocked shots). Teammate guard Tyler Andre stung Potomac with three three-pointers in the first quarter and finished with 14 points.

South Lakes (24-2) advances to face (who else?), Hayfield, in a state semifinal on Friday at Westfield High. The two teams met in last year’s state semis, also at Westfield, with Hayfield winning 71-59.

The two-time defending state champion Hawks topped Landstown, 58-53, in overtime. Oscar Smith was another winner on Tuesday, edging West Potomac, 57-56, and will face Patriot at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Hylton in the other Class 6 state semifinal.

South Lakes star junior Jordan Scott led the way with 22 points, plus several blocked shots. (Photo courtesy Nova Sports Media Team, David Gaylor)

During tournament time, especially, the point guard position is the most scrutinized. Kennedy was a central figure at both ends of the court and carried a lot of responsibility for game flow.

He often chose to drive the lane and his four-point play was a thing of beauty. After converting a layup while being fouled, his free throw clanked off the rim and rebounded right back to him. He then laid that in to give the Seahawks a 61-53 lead with 5:12 left in the fourth.

“The play just felt natural in the moment,” Kennedy said. “When I can get that first step, things open up. I can shoot or find a teammate who can finish.”

It came after the Panthers, who trailed the entire game after the opening basket, had cut the Seahawks’ deficit to four. Potomac could get no closer than five thereafter, including twice in the final two minutes.

The Panthers (24-4) got to the foul line twice down the stretch with the chance to make it a one-possession game, but errant free throw attempts saved South Lakes.

Potomac point guard and first-team all-region performer senior Kenneth DeGuzman also played a prominent role. He commanded the offense and continually drove the lane and created contact.

He had eight points early on before picking up his third foul with 4:29 left in the half.

“We knew all every shot was going to go through him,” Kennedy said. “He needed 21 points to get to 1,000 for his career, and our goal was to prevent that.”

DeGuzman (13 points) was called for his fourth foul with 1:02 left in the third quarter and then fouled out on his third charging call with 5:02 left in the game and his team down by eight.

The Seahawks’ Aiden Billings drew that controversial foul, standing directly under the basket as DeGuzman’s shot went in. With no arc on the floor – as is the case in college and pro basketball – the officials made the call.

Coach Mike Desmond and the Seahawks now get another crack at Hayfield, who they lost to in last year’s state tourney. (Photo Courtesy Nova Sports Media Team, David Gaylor)

In the high school game, “it doesn’t matter where the defender is standing,” South Lakes coach Mike Desmond said afterward.

Fellow all-region senior forward TJ Bethea then carried the Panthers down the stretch, scoring 13 of his 25 points in the final period.

For Scott, he said the game was a bit “too close for comfort.”

“We stayed together as a team and kept our heads,” said Scott, who used his beautiful footwork to create inside baskets most of the night.

Desmond said his team took the challenge of facing a man-to-man defense on Tuesday, whereas most opponents play a zone.

“Potomac was really aggressive to the ball,” Desmond said. “We knew if we could get them to turn their heads on defense [the plays would be there for us]. Potomac adjusted well in the second half, they cut off our first action, so we had [few] open cuts to the basket in the second half.”

Panthers coach and school alum Anthony Mills said his team was more comfortable in the second half after trailing by as many as 12 several times in the first half.

“We wanted to speed them up and make them uncomfortable,” he said. “From man-to-man defense, that’s the way our team is built. We got that senior leadership from [TJ] and guard Peter Mitchell but the foul trouble hurt us.”

Mitchell finished with 17 points, including 12 in the third quarter.

Looking to Friday, Desmond said, “As most predicted, Hayfield has been improving all season. They had to replace some star players, but they have kids who moved up who were used to defending [last year’s seniors] the past few years. They are playing the best of any team since the calendar turned to 2024. This has to be one of [Hawks coach Carlos Poindexter’s] best seasons of coaching.”

South Lakes beat Hayfield, 61-43, in early December with Scott scoring a team-high 15 points.

“This will be a ‘different’ team that we’re facing in the semifinals,” Scott said. “We’re going to take a few days to scout them and then go at them hard.”

–Paul Bergeron


  1. Your team must have lost. You should join an official association and show everyone how you are suppose to call a game.

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