Cougars cap­ture first re­gion ti­tle since 2000

QUINCE ORCHARD 56, R. MONT­GOMERY 41

The Washington Post Sunday - - ALLMETSPORTS.COM - BY ERIC GOLDWEIN eric.goldwein@wash­post.com

Quince Orchard swung the ball around for about a minute to start the fourth quar­ter, keep­ing Richard Mont­gomery’s de­fend­ers on a string. A few more clock-killing pos­ses­sions like that could have clinched the Mary­land 4A West re­gion ti­tle.

But the Cougars weren’t just play­ing pre­vent; they were run­ning their sys­tem, tir­ing out the Rock­ets and wait­ing for the right time to at­tack — just as they had done through­out Satur­day’s 56-41 vic­tory at Blair High in Sil­ver Spring.

On their en­su­ing pos­ses­sion, se­nior John Fier­stein im­me­di­ately es­tab­lished po­si­tion in the post and made a field goal. The next time they got the ball, se­nior Matt Kelly drove to the hoop and kicked the ball out to Jack Faraone for a three-pointer, ex­tend­ing the lead to 14.

Half the quar­ter re­mained, but Quince Orchard was well on its way to ad­vanc­ing to Thurs­day night’s state semi­fi­nal against top-ranked Wise at the Univer­sity of Mary­land’s Xfin­ity Cen­ter. When the fi­nal buzzer sounded, the Cougars rushed the court and cel­e­brated the school’s first re­gion ti­tle since 2000.

“It’s re­ally cool to be a part of his­tory like this,” Kelly said. “I’m just so happy for my team­mates and ev­ery­body that’s been with us for this jour­ney.”

Quince Orchard (23-2) runs a fun­da­men­tally sound sys­tem, but it’s the play­ers who make it work.

Fier­stein, a 6-foot-3 point for­ward, had 14 points to lead the Cougars in scor­ing. Kelly, a speedy 5-9 guard, stretched out the de­fense with his three-point shoot­ing and slashed his way into the paint for nine points.

“We know if all of us are on the court mov­ing and if we can catch some­body fall­ing asleep we can find a way to score.”

Se­nior Colin Crews scored nine of his 11 points in the first half as Quince Orchard took a 29-26 lead. The Cougars be­gan the third quar­ter on an 11-0 run, feed­ing the ball in­side to Ul­ric Ayivi-Fan­dalor and Daniel Dorsey, which freed up the perime­ter and helped Mitch Cz­worka hit two three-point­ers.

“We knew that if we went in­side, we could wear them down,” Kelly said.

Richard Mont­gomery (20-5) was seek­ing its first re­gion ti­tle since 1967 but never re­cov­ered from the Cougars’ third-quar­ter run. Daryn Alexan­der scored 14 points to lead the Rock­ets.

WISE 69, PARK­DALE 52: The No. 1 Pu­mas (21-0) won the 4A South ti­tle and are seek­ing their sec­ond state championship af­ter win­ning in 2014.

AN­NAPO­LIS 59, MEADE 55: The Pan­thers avenged last year’s loss to the Mus­tangs and cap­tured the 4A East ti­tle.

PERRY HALL 82, PAINT BRANCH 71: The Ga­tors took a 46-33 half­time lead and cruised to their sec­ond con­sec­u­tive 4A North ti­tle.

SENECA VAL­LEY 47, TUSCARORA 42 (OT): The No. 8 Scream­ing Ea­gles (24-1) cap­tured their sec­ond con­sec­u­tive 3A West ti­tle and meet Po­tomac on Thurs­day night in the state semi­fi­nals.

PO­TOMAC 81, MA­GRUDER 64: The Wolver­ines won the 3A South ti­tle and are go­ing for their fifth state championship in school his­tory.

CEN­TRAL 88, WEST­LAKE 72: The Fal­cons won the 2A South ti­tle and will next face Wil­liamsport or Cen­tury on Fri­day in the state semi­fi­nals.

FAIR­MONT HEIGHTS 81, HAVRE DE GRACE 77 (OT): The Hor­nets cap­tured the 1A North ti­tle and will play Kent County on Fri­day in the state semi­fi­nals.

WHIT­MAN GIRLS 69, GAITHERS­BURG 46: Abby Mey­ers scored 26 points and Olivia Mey­ers added 17 to lead the No. 11 Vik­ings to their third con­sec­u­tive 4A West ti­tle. Whit­man plays No. 4 Eleanor Roo­sevelt in the state semi­fi­nals.

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