DAMASCUS – In their third and final rematch of the season, the Damascus High School boys basketball team faced no problems taking down Poolesville, 69-27, on March 1 in the first round of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association 2A state playoffs.
On Feb. 5, the Swarmin’ Hornets beat Poolesville in a tighter affair (64-44). However, unlike last week, this game mattered. No. 3 Damascus (7-13) arrived into the playoffs winning two of their last four games in the regular season while the Falcons had won their second game of the season, defeating Kennedy in the season finale, 62-59, on Feb. 15.
The game started out promising for both sides, with the Swarmin’ Hornets going on a five-point streak before senior Poolesville shooting forward Presley Kirongo ended it with a free throw. However, Damascus regained control and take a 14-5 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
Turnovers and ineffective shooting.by Poolesville created several scoring opportunities for Damascus. Their high-pressure defense turned into quick fast-breaks and transition plays for easy buckets. giving the Swarmin’ Hornets a 20-point lead at halftime.
A second wind hit the Falcons in the third quarter, as they tried to counter Damascus’ defense with their own high intensity. Junior Nick Zehnle and senior shooting guard James Lang each finished with nine points for Poolesville and altogether, only five Falcons scored in the match.
However, Damascus’ 36-point lead by the end of the third quarter was just too much for the No. 6 squad to handle. Senior shooting guard Cole Cerulli scored 10 points and sophomore shooting guard Chris Shaw added 12 points. Both players were the only players who reached double-digits in points.
With victory almost ensured by the fourth quarter, the Swarmin’ Hornets benched their starters and brought in their role players to finish out the game.
The win advanced Damascus to the second round of the state playoffs where they traveled to play No. 2 Middletown from Frederick County on March 4. In a closer contest, the Swarmin’ Hornets fall 64-54, ending their season.