Knapp does it all to lead Li­ons to win

JEWISH DAY 76, SANDY SPRING 65

The Washington Post Sunday - - ALLMETSPORTS.COM - PO­TOMAC VAL­LEY ATH­LETIC CON­FER­ENCE BAS­KET­BALL FI­NALS BY JESSE DOUGHERTY jesse.dougherty@wash­post.com

Just when it seemed as if Bryan Knapp had done ev­ery­thing, as if there was noth­ing more he could do to win a bas­ket­ball game, he planted his right foot into the hard­wood and took off.

For 31 min­utes Knapp was a scorer, a de­fender, a dis­trib­u­tor and a re­bounder for Jewish Day. But for this crit­i­cal play, with the Po­tomac Val­ley Ath­letic Con­fer­ence hang­ing in the bal­ance, he was a wide re­ceiver run­ning a fly pat­tern into the open floor. Na­dav Kal­en­der lobbed the pass, and Knapp caught it over his shoul­der and con­verted a layup through con­tact to put the Li­ons per­ma­nently ahead in a 76-65 win over Sandy Spring in Rockville on Saturday night.

Knapp, who is signed to play at Cor­nell next year, fin­ished with a game-high 40 points. The Wilde­beests (24-7) were led by Malakai Parker’s 27 points, but they weren’t enough to edge Jewish Day (24-3).

“It means ev­ery­thing. It just really means ev­ery­thing,” Knapp said. “We worked so hard for this, and I just couldn’t be hap­pier for this win for all the se­niors and the whole team.”

Knapp started a bit slow but had 23 points by half­time. He col­lected them by ris­ing up off the drib­ble, cut­ting into open space and can­ning catch-and­shoot threes. But the game was still tied at 31 at in­ter­mis­sion, in large part be­cause of Parker’s four first-half threes, and Knapp chal­lenged his team at the break.

“I told them that we were play­ing hor­ri­ble and that it was still tied,” Knapp said. “So if we just fixed our stupid mis­takes, we’d be able to win the game.”

His team­mates re­sponded by in­volv­ing them­selves in the of­fense. Daniel Zweben scored 14 of his 16 points in the sec­ond half, Kal­en­der net­ted 10 of his 14, and Knapp ap­plied the fin­ish­ing touches.

Hold­ing a one-pos­ses­sion lead in the fi­nal min­utes, Knapp danced around Sandy Spring de­fend­ers to kill time. Then he deftly cut back­door for a re­verse layup, con­verted off Kal­en­der’s foot­ball pass and added two more points at the buzzer for good mea­sure.

Af­ter a hoard of Jewish Day fans mobbed Knapp at mid­court, Li­ons Coach David McCloud pulled his star player into a bear hug by the team’s bench.

“You did it,” McCloud said, lean­ing close into Knapp’s ear. “You wanted it, and you did it.”

McLean girls beat Oakcrest

Syd­ney Lewis crossed to her left, crossed back to her right and then euro-stepped through the lane be­fore bank­ing a layup off the back­board and into the net.

Af­ter the game, the fresh­man had no clue she had scored 16 points. And she couldn’t ex­plain where the move came from. All Lewis was sure of was that McLean School had won the PVAC cham­pi­onship in its first visit to the ti­tle game. The Mus­tangs did that with a 47-39 win over Oakcrest as Jes­sica Bas­kett added a game-high 16 points.

Oakcrest (15-8) was paced by 12 points from Colleen Beatty and 11 from Ju­lia Rudy. But the Charg­ers could not over­come air­tight de­fense by McLean School (21-2) in a fourth quar­ter in which the Mus­tangs held a 20-10 ad­van­tage.

“This game showed how tough we are,” Lewis said. “We were down, we were up, but we stuck to­gether, and I think we all knew we could do this from the start of the sea­son.”

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