The Varsity Boys Basketball team has had an up and down season, but over the next week they look to make statement wins against cross-town rivals Paint Branch and Springbrook, finishing out the season strong.
The Bengals were 7-10 through January, and now have three games left with two rivalry games that could even out the season series against Paint Branch and Springbrook. Coach Dondrell Whitmore points out inconsistency as one thing holding the team back this season.
“Right now at the moment we are kind of up and down. One minute we are doing something great, and the next minute we got some work to do,” Whitmore says, “but all in all the good thing about Montgomery County is that we all make the playoffs, and now we are trying to get better.”
Multiple players also point to a lack of communication as a weakness for the team on the defensive side of the ball. The team has a total of 4 transfers from schools around the area, and it has taken some time for everybody to get used to playing well together.
One of those transfers is Senior Forward Stanley Gaima. Gaima spent his first 3 years down New Hampshire Avenue at Springbrook, where he played varsity his Junior season. He says, “Our weaknesses are not playing as a unit at this time, but soon it will be a strength.”
A strength of the Bengals was shown in multiple games early in the season. In their second game of the year, in an overtime loss to rival Springbrook, the Bengals put up a whopping 93 points, with three players scoring greater than 15 points.
Then, in a game just 3 days later against another rival in Paint Branch, the Bengal squad put up 94 points on one of the counties top teams. Senior Forward Reggie Pope says, “Offense is our strength. We can score the ball easily.”
As the season winds down towards games against both of these rivals again, Coach Whitmore looks to remind the team of the importance of competing and giving it your all in these high pressure games. “Just let them know how important that rival game is. It is a fun game, and if you like basketball, then you like those games.”
On the other hand, multiple players on the team plan to get hype just by listening to the atmosphere of the game. Both of these games are Friday night games that are expected to be packed with fans, with the Paint Branch game tonight at Paint Branch and the Springbrook game a week from today.
On the topic of how important winning these rivalry games is to the team, Pope says, “It is like bragging rights. Those are the games that people look forward to the most.”