SANDY SPRING—On the last day of the regular season, Blake High School honored its seniors on its boys’ basketball team but before they upperclassmen could celebrate, Sherwood came to town and spoiled the Senior Night festivities, as the Warriors earned a key 71-62 road win on Feb 22.
“It caps off a nice season,” said senior point guard J.D. Jordan, who scored a team-high 16 points. “We had a nice six-game win streak, and it feels good to come into Blake’s house and spoil their senior night.”
The first quarter was very neck-and-neck, with both teams producing blocks and takeaways that led to baskets in transition. Senior point guard Jordan contributed with six points for Sherwood in the opening period. The hard-fought quarter finished with the Warriors taking a one-point lead.
Sherwood started to take advantage offensively in the second quarter thanks to quality three-pointers and points on the fastbreak. Jordan was able to drive to tally the hoop and add six more points to his talley, finishing the half with 12 points. Domenico Martella and Steven Billig contributed with a 3-pointer while junior Evan Long connected with two behind the arc shots before the end of the half.
Blake trailed by more than 10 points at one point but the Bengals’ speed and hustle were enough to keep them in the game down 10 by the end of the half. Junior Raef Hetherington was key to keeping Blake alive, as he went off for nine points in the second quarter.
The Bengals played better offensively in the third quarter, outscoring the Warriors. Every basket for Blake came inside the arc, as Ezana Fekere and Romelle Williams both registered four points each. Yet, Sherwood continued to find open looks, with Martella adding five of his final 14 points in the third quarter.
“We try to get like five, six guys close to double figures,” said Sherwood Head Coach Tom Sheahin. “We had 10 guys in double figures throughout the season in the 20s.”
After trailing 53-44 at the end of the third, the Bengals went on a 10-2 run, cutting the deficit to 55-54 midway through the fourth. Dorian Hurd also contributed with six points, including four made free throws. Meanwhile, Hetherington continued to be a driving force as he put up eight fourth-quarter points, including two three-pointers to finish with a game-high 19 points.
“He’s been our leading scorer,” said Bengals Head Coach Dondrell Whitmore. “When he’s on, he’s on. He’s been really good for us and he’s been helping us the whole time.”
However, Sherwood came back to life as seven different Warriors all contributed with layups, threes and free throws to lead the visitors to victory.
“It’s always nice to win on the road,” said Sheahin. “I didn’t think we played at our peak. It got a little sloppy. I think we had like 10 turnovers in the first half, and we cut it down to like five or six in the second half.”
Sherwood has picked up the slack after Nate Lacey, their leading scorer, got injured. The addition of the junior guard in the upcoming days will be “icing on the cake” the team needs heading into the state playoffs, Sheahin said.
Sherwood finishes the season 12-8 and in fourth place in the Class 4A East behind Blair, Paint Branch, and Springbrook heading into the playoffs. Blake finishes the season with a 10-10 record but ahead in first place of the 3A/2A standings. The Bengals will look to bounce back the state playoffs, which start on March 1.
“I feel like we like we’re going to do good,” said Hetherington. “I think we’re going to pick it up here this upcoming week.”