WHEATON – The Quince Orchard varsity boys basketball team made it into the QO history books on Saturday.
The Cougars came from behind and beat the Kennedy Cavaliers 61-51, achieving the first 20-win season in school history.
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The first half, however, belonged to Kennedy.
The Cavaliers dictated the fast-paced style of play that has become their trademark. Senior guard Jomaite Tavarez rebounded his own missed shots and drove to the basket to make a layup.
Kennedy went into the half with a five point lead.
Quince Orchard emerged from the half renewed and fired up.
The Cougars, led by senior guard John Fierstein, scored 25 points in the third quarter to take the lead for the first time in the game.
Kennedy didn’t score 25 points in the entire second half.
Cavaliers head coach Diallo Nelson said he recognized the defensive style that Cougars head coach Paul Foringer reintroduced in the third quarter.
“I knew the jump traps were coming. That’s the way he used to play all the time,” said Nelson. “He got away from it the last couple of years. I saw it coming. We hadn’t had a chance to practice against it.”
The jump trap defense forced Kennedy to deviate from their usual playing style.
The game against Quince Orchard had originally been scheduled for Tuesday. The Cavaliers had little time to recover from Friday’s victory against Clarksburg.
“We started to play more individualized basketball, and that’s definitely not our way,” Nelson said. “We’re the type of team where we feed each other, we create for each other. We stopped doing that.”
With the jump trap defense in place, Cougars sophomore guard Jack Faraone hit the go-ahead three pointer.
Faraone’s trey was the turning point in the game. The momentum shifted heavily in Quince Orchard’s favor. The Cougars slowed their pace as Kennedy floundered offensively.
The Cavaliers closed the scoring gap to nine points in the fourth quarter. However, it was too late to salvage the game.
“You don’t just come back on [Quince Orchard],” said Nelson. “They scrap until the end. They are definitely as good as advertised.”
The Cavaliers (14-7) expect to clinch the third seed in the playoffs. Their first playoff opponent will be the victor of Monday’s game between Northwest and Einstein.
Quince Orchard earned the first seed and a first round bye.
Foringer said he was pleased with his team’s performance, particularly the bench players.
“It was a team effort. I told the guys that the bench really had to come in and be a factor in this game,” said Foringer. “Jack Faraone came off the bench and gave us some big shots. Mitch Czworka, Colin Crews, all those kids that came in, that was big for us.”
The Cougars (20-2) have two weeks to rest up and game plan for the playoffs. They will face the winner of the Clarksburg vs. Wootton game in the semifinals.