ROCKVILLE — With a 15-point lead, and under five minutes to play in a Tuesday night Maryland Elite Summer League game at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, the Springbrook Blue Devils varsity boys basketball team seemed primed to cruise to win over the Rockville Rams.
Then Jimmy Sorunke, the controversial Rockville big man, checked back into the game.
Rockville went on a 12-2 run with Sorunke back in the game, and cut the Springbrook lead down to four.
Four points was as close as the Rams would get, as Springbrook would respond, and pull away to win 54-48.
“I thought we played sloppy in the beginning,” Springbrook head coach Darnell Meyers said, “but after that I thought we played good.”
Rockville started out the game on a 9-0 run, but the Blue Devils fought back, and took its first lead midway through the first half. Xavier Harris led the charge back for Springbrook, with nine first-half points. At halftime, Springbrook led 28-22.
The Rams played as two completely different teams in this game, and that was largely dependent on whether or not Sorunke was on the floor or on the bench. Springbrook had no answer to the size of Sorunke, who stands at 6-foot-10, but when he was out of the game, Springbrook dominated. Sorunke led the comeback attempt for Rockville, but it fell short, as the more experienced, and frankly, more talented Springbrook team responded.
Timitrius Hawkins hit a baseline jump shot to end the Rockville run, and that was just the spark his Blue Devils needed.
Springbrook won the game 54-48, with Hawkins and Harris leading the way. Harris had 16 points, three rebounds and one assist. Hawkins had 13 points, one point, two assists and one steal.
Springbrook has new leadership this year in the form of Hawkins, the only returning starter from a year ago. Through the Capitol Hoops Summer League at DeMatha and the Maryland Elite Summer League, Hawkins has taken well to his newfound leading role.
“We’ve grown up,” Meyers said of how he’s seen his team improve over the summer.
Sorunke had a double-double in the game, with 12 points, 13 rebounds, one assist, one steal and five blocks.
“I was just doing everything to help my team,” Sorunke said.
Sorunke has gained national attention for a Deadspin report claiming he is 20 years old, and not the teenage rising sophomore he is thought to be. Rockville head coach Todd Dembroski said Sorunke will play with Rockville during the summer, but refused to comment any further on Sorunke’s status, or the ongoing investigation into him.
“We’ll worry about the winter when the winter gets here,” Dembroski said of Sorunke’s status for the season.
“My coaches and my team have been helping me,” Sorunke said of how he’s dealt with the attention.
With the win, Springbrook improved to 5-2 in the summer league, while Rockville dropped to 5-4.