GAITHERSBURG – After losing their season opener on Dec. 10, the Quince Orchard High School boys basketball team fought back to two consecutive wins in their young basketball season.
They kept their momentum rolling as the Cougars earned a dominant win at home, 59-36, over Frederick County’s Tuscarora High School for their third straight victory on Dec. 19.
The Cougars (3-1) were locked all game long, particularly on defense. Starting with their first bucket, Quince Orchard forced a steal and scored on a fastbreak layup by Teddy Kelly and the following bucket by Amir Gray.
Tuscarora struggled to protect the ball, surrendering more turnovers and, in turn, extending the Cougars’ lead to 13-3 while only scoring 14 points in the entire first half.
“Our defense was spectacular, and that was a good team we just beat,” Quince Orchard Head Coach Paul Foringer said. “The rotations were the best they’ve been all year; the guards and big men worked really well on backside coverage. I’m very happy.”
“We just wanted to speed up the game and get them panicking a little bit,” guard Alex Parisotto said. “We got them to panic and turned the ball over a little bit, and we got easy transition points.”
Transition points came early and often, especially for Parisotto. Early in the game, he scored on a steal, then got back on defense for the following possession and scored again. Ultimately, he came up with clutch buckets all night, whether in the paint, in transition, and at the basket.
“It was all (thanks to) my teammates,” explained the junior guard, who finished with 16 points. “They were getting me open shots, and I was able to get to the basket, so we were working together, turning offense into defense.”
“That’s what he does; he’s physically our strongest player,” Foringer said of Parisotto’s game. “He’s not afraid to go to the rim. Sometimes I’d prefer that he’d pull up and shoot, but he’s a talented basketball player.”
Parisotto was not alone, however. Other teammates came through with clutch buckets of their own, like sophomore Drew Heinrichs, who provided a spark off the bench and connected on multiple 3-point attempts en route to 11 points of his own.
“I was just flowing through my role in the offense,” Heinrichs said. “I wanted to make plays and set everyone up.”
In the third quarter, Tuscarora tried to make the game more interesting. After trailing 29-14 at halftime, they opened up on an 8-3 run and cut the lead to 10. They continued efforts to get back in the game, doing a better job using their size inside as an advantage and cutting the lead down to nine points at one time.
“We came out slow in the second half; that’s not we wanted to do,” said Parisotto. “But we just kept talking to each other and eventually we picked it up.”
The Quince Orchard defense eventually got back to the same trap defense and harassing play that worked in the first half.
While getting Tuscarora uncomfortable and forcing them into bad plays again on defense, the Cougars offense picked their pace up as well, ballooning the lead back up to as many as 15.
By the fourth quarter, Quince Orchard did not look back and continued to make shots while keeping Tuscarora out of rhythm. The Cougars received contributions from more guys, like Jeremiah Littlejohn, who also finished with eight points, a few assists, and some active play on defense with steals.
“I think we spread the ball around well, and everybody worked together well on defense,” Littlejohn said. “They were bigger than us, but they couldn’t handle our traps and our speed.”
With their latest win, arguably the best of the year for them so far, Quince Orchard hopes it they can feed off this momentum and keep getting better.
“We’ve just got to keep working hard in practice and do what we’re doing,” said Parisotto.
“We’ve got to keep playing for each other,” Foringer explained. “There were times when we were dribbling too much and trying to do our own thing, and we’d lose the ball. As long as we’re out there playing for each other, I think that we’ll be okay.”