ROCKVILLE — The Magruder Colonels overcame a slow start to seize the second-half momentum and hand the Springbrook Blue Devils their first loss of the season Monday, 48-40 in the Maryland Elite Summer Basketball League at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School Daniel Pearl Memorial Gymnasium.
The previously undefeated Blue Devils looked quite different from the basketball team that last donned the navy blue and Columbia blue back in February. Eight seniors graduated, giving the underclassmen an opportunity to step up and earn their spot on the team.
However, youth and inexperience often go hand in hand.
That inexperience came into play against Magruder. The Blue Devils started the game with a 7-0 run and even though forward Xavier Harris and guard Timitrius Hawkins combined for 16 first-half points, the Colonels trailed by just three at halftime.
Magruder grabbed its first lead of the half when guard Travis Crandall sunk his fourth trey of the game. The Colonels appeared reenergized after taking the lead and began to beat Springbrook on the boards.
That momentum carried Magruder into the second half, where the Colonels pulled ahead again before Springbrook tied the score. Hawkins took his time dribbling down the court, shouting instructions to his teammates.
The game seesawed back and forth as players from both teams attempted big shots to try to put their squad back in the lead. The score was knotted at 40 with two minutes left to play before the Colonels strung together an unanswered eight-point scoring run. A missed Springbrook three-point attempt landed in Crandall’s hands and the guard flung a pass to Chris Asamoah. Asamoah launched into the air for a resounding dunk that capped off Springbrook’s first loss.
“We missed some shots and they made shots, so that’s the big difference. Down the stretch, we missed shots that we shouldn’t, and then we didn’t take smart shots,” said Blue Devils head coach Darnell Myers. “We’re young. We’re starting over with young people. I think we’re getting better because they are now getting to mature with one another.”
Magruder head coach Tony Giles said that defensive adjustments made after Springbrook’s 7-0 run is what turned the game around for the Colonels.
“We weren’t playing intense defense, so I called a timeout and got them focused more on defense and they started moving the basketball better. Then we got back to playing Magruder basketball,” said Giles.
Springbrook will have two days to prepare to face Gaithersburg on Wednesday. The Colonels, however, have a date against Sherwood less than 24 hours after beating the Blue Devils.
Giles appeared unfazed about his team’s next opponent.
“We don’t worry about what they do. We worry about doing what we do well,” he said. “That’s the whole deal; we’re not concerned about what other people do.”