As the basketball season approaches its midway point, the QO boys’ and girls’ basketball teams both find themselves in remarkably similar positions. Both are young teams, both have 10 or more players vying for playing time, both are trying to find the right on-court combinations of players to stay competitive, and both have records of 5-5.
The boys have shown moments of fierce defense and firepower, but they haven’t been able to sustain this for an entire game. They seemed to find their stride recently in topping Northwest, 43-40, with a furious, fourth quarter rally. They entered the final stanza down six points but outscored the Jaguars 18-9 to take the win behind 12 fourth-quarter points by sophomore Andy Wexler (16 total) and tough work underneath by converted football star, senior Johnny Hodges.
But they lost their following two games, 57-46 to Whitman and 53-53 to BethesdaChevy Chase (B-CC). As in the Northwest game, the Cougars were behind for most of the contest but rallied to outscore B-CC by 17-6 in the final period. This time, however, their late-game heroics fell a point short. QO had three boys in double figures: senior Cameron Garrett with 13, junior Noah Adnan with 11, and sophomore Alex Parisotto with 10.
“With this group, they’re so young and so inexperienced that it’s valleys and peaks,” said Head Coach Paul Foringer of his team, which has four sophomores and a freshman who see regular playing time. “And what we’re trying to do is just get more peaks than valleys.”
Foringer had high praise for his young guards Wexler and Parisotto. “He’s deceptively quick,” said the coach of Wexler. “Off the dribble he beats everybody. … And Alex Parisotto complements him very well.”
He also appreciates the inside work of Hodges, in his first year playing basketball for QO, though a hand injury kept him from playing last year. “He’s a tremendous rebounder,” Foringer said of Hodges. “He just works tirelessly. … Having him this year has been really a blessing.”
Like Foringer, first-year girls basketball Head Coach Bobby Bishop has watched his team struggle to find consistency and to perform in games the way they play in practice. In last week’s 52-45 loss to B-CC at QO, the Lady Cougars clawed back from an 11-point deficit in the third quarter when senior forward Destini Kelly hit a stepback three-pointer at the buzzer to reduce the margin to two. Pressing defense and aggressive inside work keyed the girls’ rally. But QO lost their momentum in the final period and the experienced B-CC (5-2) squad regained its poise to pull away for the seven-point victory.
“I just felt that we started out too slow,” said Bishop after the game. “We have to match that energy” that B-CC displayed for most of the game.
Bishop noted some bright spots for the girls, especially the work of his backcourt of junior Makayla Wright (14 points against B-CC) and sophomore Anaya Badmus. “Anaya and Makayla are working together really well,” he said. And senior forward “Jenna Williams (averaging almost eight rebounds per game) is working hard. She’s doing a good job of being a force on the floor.”
“The bottom line is I think we just got to listen and do the things that we do in practice,” Bishop said. “Because we do them well in practice but when we come out here, we just don’t put them together.”
Nevertheless, he remained optimistic. “It takes time. It’s a new team. It’s a new system. Rome wasn’t built overnight. So, it’s going to take time. We’ll be fine.”