HYATTSVILLE – The Good Counsel High School boys basketball team had a strong showing in their most recent Capital Hoops Summer League boys’ basketball game against Springbrook in a 73-35 win on May 31.
The game was played at DeMatha Catholic High School, the host for this year’s summer league tournament. The league brings together teams from around Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia to compete against each other, including various Montgomery County teams such as Paint Branch and the Bethesda-Chevy Chase. The league culminates in an eight-team playoff and a championship game on July 3.
Good Counsel’s rising junior guards Day’sJuan Waters and Bez Mbeng posted 12 and 15 of Good Counsel’s points, respectively. Waters and Mbeng also had the most points of any player on either team.
“He’s a brilliant slasher, a lanky defender, can create chaos in the defensive end,” said Good Counsel Assistant Coach Anthony Guy. “But he’s also learning how to penetrate and create plays for others. It’s one thing to create plays for yourself, but it’s another thing to create plays for others.”
Their knack for reaching the hoop complemented their speedy breakaways, forcing the Springbrook defense to try and find ways to adapt. Both players were game changers as well, spreading the ball around to their teammates to get them in the game. Only Mbeng and Waters got into double-digit territory in scoring for either team.
It was a struggle for Springbrook to contain the duo. Rising junior forward Jayden Socka attempted to used his six-foot-seven frame frustrated Good Counsel’s offense and make stops.
“Good Counsel’s a good team. They applied a lot of pressure to our defense, and sometimes they were able to get through our defense, but not all the time,” said Socka.
The game entered halftime with a score of 34-18 in favor of Good Counsel. The Blue Devils only held the lead once, when they scored their opening four points of the game in response to Good Counsel’s first three points.
While Mbeng and Waters dominated throughout the match, the second half was more balanced as multiple teammates scored for Good Counsel. Rising junior forward Gustav Atisso scored all of his four points in the second half for Springbrook.
“They’re a team that’s not going to give up, so we knew coming out that we had to shut them down real quick and not allow them to come back in the game at all,” said Waters.
The summer is a time to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of both teams before entering the regular season in the winter. The common ground that both teams find themselves on is the youth and relative lack of veteran players on their squad.
“We got to work on things, but that’s what I expected…but that’s what’s going to happen when you got a young team, but we’ll be alright,” said Springbrook Head Coach Darnell Myers.
Another consistent issue for both teams was three-point shooting: Springbrook shot 1-of-15 for 6.7 percent, and Good Counsel did slightly better, shooting 3-of-12 for 25 percent from the field.
Good Counsel has four rising seniors on their squad, but only two of them got minutes in the game. Of those two, only rising senior forward Phillip Carter scored, putting up four points. Springbrook had a larger squad made up of mostly rising juniors and seniors, with eight and nine of each, respectively.
Both teams are also looking forward to the future after disappointing playoff losses earlier this year. Good Counsel was beaten by DeMatha 81-42 in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) Boys Basketball Tournament. Meanwhile, Springbrook lost a close regional final game to Dulaney, 70-68.
“We think we’re going to do a lot better. We’re trying to get to American (University), we’re trying to do better each and every year and get to our main goal,” said Mbeng, referencing American University, the site of last season’s WCAC basketball championship.