Cougars capture first region title since 2000
QUINCE ORCHARD 56, R. MONTGOMERY 41
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.