Stone Bridge boys basketball outscored its opponents 224-153 on the path to becoming the 2021 5C Regional Champions. The Bulldogs’ 88-61 victory over Potomac Falls in the Regional Championship game capped a dominant 14-1 season, which also included claiming the Potomac District Championship. It was the Bulldogs’ first regional title in program history.
“They put in a lot of work all season long,” Coach Kent Kling said. “They are a team. They’re willing to do something for each other and back each other up. They don’t care who succeeds, as long as the team does.”
The Bulldogs were led by their dynamic junior duo of guard Dylan Hundertmark and forward Jacob Thomas. Hundertmark paced his team with a double-double while tallying 21 points, 10 assists, and six rebounds. He credited his team’s win to its unselfish play and fast transition basketball.
“I love these boys to death,” Hundertmark said after taking in the moment and celebrating the victory with his teammates.
Thomas also posted a double-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists. The 6’1″ forward emphasized the unity that the Bulldogs had developed throughout the season.
“I’m still in shock right now,” Thomas said as he continued to process his team’s victory. “It’s an amazing feeling. We bond as a group and everyone cheers for each other. We’re all just together–we’re family.”
The Bulldogs proved they came ready to play by starting the game on a 16-4 run. Kling’s team overwhelmed Potomac Falls with their signature pace that helped create early fast break points.
“That’s our game,” he said. “We’ve got to push the ball forward. We’ve got some good athletes, and the basketball IQs have gotten higher as the season went on. The turnovers have been minimalized–we started off the season against Rock Ridge with 21 turnovers.”
Potomac Falls head coach Jeff Hawes took a timeout with 54.3 seconds left in the first quarter to gather his team, but the Panthers still trailed 18-8 at the end of the first quarter. Hawes’ team opened the second quarter with an urgency and a desire to attack the basket and get to the foul line.
Senior power forward Jacob Mancuso opened the second quarter by getting to the free throw line, as he was fouled going in for a layup and would sink both shots. Mancuso led the Panthers on the night with 13 points and six rebounds.
Despite Potomac Falls’ physicality, the Bulldogs could not be stopped offensively as they continued to get easy buckets with their pace. Stone Bridge maintained its lead by producing a 19-10 run to close the first half. Coach Kling laughed as he spoke about his team’s endurance, especially considering the unique nature of this season.
“It was hard for these kids, not just us, all the kids in the county that had to wear the masks and play,” Coach Kling said. “We play up-tempo–just think, the game is the reward, think what they had to do in practices. Yeah, they don’t like me that much.”
The Panthers would attempt to apply more pressure defensively in the second half, but Stone Bridge continued to find open looks by sharing the ball and attacking with pace.
The Bulldogs’ energy was highlighted in a breakaway play late in the third quarter. Senior guard and Thomas College commit Jerico Limcaoco and Thomas had a two-on-one play against a Potomac Falls defender. Thomas passed the ball to Limcaoco who drove drew the defender in before tossing the ball up to Thomas who slammed the alley-oop dunk, to increase their lead to 55-33. The Stone Bridge bench erupted.
Jacob Thomas with the steal and the dunk!!! pic.twitter.com/UnpdZufxua
— SBHS Basketball (@sbhs_basketball) February 13, 2021
“We have guys that score 13 points, 12 points–who are you going to stop tonight,” Coach Kling said. “They’re content, they don’t care who scores. They get doubled they kick to somebody, they’re happy for each other.”
Potomac Falls (8-9) was unable to find an answer for the Bulldogs’ pace on both ends of the court. Stone Bridge created its lead with dynamic offense, but maintained the lead with discipline on defense.
“We try to stay compressed as much as possible, but then they have to get out there and close out,” Coach Kling said. “They always say: it’s defense that wins championships–it is! The boys had to play defense. I know that they can score, you knew that from last year.”
The Bulldogs (14-1) will advance to the Class 5 State Semifinals after securing the 5C Regional Championship with their eighth straight victory. Stone Bridge will travel to Patrick Henry High School in Roanoke City for a matchup with the Patriots.
“We have to play defense,” Coach Kling said. “We’re going to have to protect the paint. They’re probably going to want to run with us. We can run, but we can also play in the half-court. We have continuity offense, we have sets too. But we want go.”