SILVER SPRING – It was a story of redemption and loss in boy’s basketball Tuesday night when the Watkins Mill Wolverines went to the home of the Blake Bengals and won, 83-72, in overtime.
The game was unpredictable and showed the volatility of sports, as the match started with a dominant performance by the Wolverines but dragged into one period of overtime, where the visitors dominated once more for the win.
Wolverine senior point guard Bryson Faison shined in overtime with 10 points to ensure the demise of the Bengals. Eight of those points were from the line, out of nine attempts.
Just a few minutes before in the fourth quarter, however, Faison earned a technical foul, benched for the remainder of the quarter.
“When that happened, I just took it as a motivation, to do better for my team, I knew I couldn’t let my team down,” said Faison.
Faison succeeded, and his accuracy at the line edged the Wolverines by a margin large enough and late enough in the game for the Bengals to come back.
“Tonight was the best game I’ve seen Bryson play,” said Wolverines head coach Corey Robinson.
The Bengals put up a fight, though, and made up for initial sluggishness with a high-pressure defense and forced turnovers.
The Bengals finished the first quarter with only nine points, as compared with the Wolverines’ 25. Then the Bengals turned the tables in the second quarter, keeping the visitors to only five points and putting up 23 to take a narrow two-point lead into halftime.
“That was the first quarter, and we had three more quarters to go,” said Bengals head coach Dondrell Whitmore.
Key to containing the Wolverines was controlling junior guard Anthony Bailey, who posted 10 points in the first quarter and five in the second, many from inside the paint and very close to the rim.
The rest of the game was close, both teams trading the lead until the end of the third quarter.
A turnover by Blake senior guard Kendrick Vaughn in the waning minutes of the quarter let the ball find its way to the hands of Wolverines junior small forward Terrance Williams, who sank a three-pointer.
“We just kept in our minds that the last time we were in this gym, they got us, they got us late in the game, and we couldn’t let it happen again,” said Williams. “We just wanted to keep fighting, keep fighting, and do what we had to do to win the game.”
It gave the Wolverines some breathing room going into the fourth quarter, but not by much. The Bengals gave them plenty of scoring opportunities as Wolverines went to the line eight times, making 13 of 17 shots.
With less than half a minute left and the Bengals down by two, senior guard Kobe Colston stepped up to the line and sank two shots to tie the game and head into overtime.
But in overtime, Faison’s trips to the free throw line, Colston’s fouling out for the Bengals, and sloppy defending from the home team meant the Bengals’ tournament hopes were cut short.
“I think we played a really good game, but the foul trouble was what got us out of the game and the ref wasn’t really on our side. That was really it,” said senior guard Da’Quan Staley.